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Tom Brady “retired” one year ago today

Mike Florio and Chris Simms question whether Tom Brady, Brock Purdy, Trey Lance or Jimmy Garoppolo will start at QB in San Francisco come Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season.

Happy Birthday, Tom Brady’s fake retirement.

Yes, Brady announced his retirement on February 1, 2022. I don’t call it a fake retirement because it ended 40 days later, with Brady returning to the Buccaneers. It call it a fake retirement because it was merely an attempted retirement from the Buccaneers.

Brady’s then-secret plan was to join forces with Sean Payton, who had resigned one week earlier as head coach of the Saints, in Miami.

One week after Brady’s retirement, during Super Bowl week, the Dolphins were poised to announce that he was becoming a minority owner of the team, and possibly a member of the front office. Then, the Dolphins would have struck a deal with the Saints to hire Payton. Then, at some point during the offseason program, Brady would have become Miami’s quarterback -- with the Buccaneers getting compensation for the final year of his contract.

That plan quickly became derailed by the lawsuit filed later that same day by former Dolphins coach Brian Flores, who accused the Dolphins and others of racial discrimination.

News of the Brady-Payton plan eventually started to trickle out, with PFT Live becoming the first to plant the flag and other national outlets having no idea or deliberately declining to confirm the story, either to avoid having to credit someone else for breaking something that wasn’t supposed to get out or to steer clear of talking about something that their usual and regular sources didn’t want to be discussed.

That’s the difference between someone reporting something that is going to be announced anyway (such as the hiring of Sean Payton by the Broncos and the hiring of DeMeco Ryans) and reporting something that was never supposed to be reported. Jay Glazer told me years ago that the only real journalism that happens in sports is the stuff that they didn’t want the public to know. When you consider the full range of NFL reports that surface on a daily basis, the vast majority is stuff that was going to be announced anyway -- and often is, in as little as five minutes after the “BREAKING NEWS.”

As to Brady, no one was supposed to know that he had a secret deal with the Dolphins. Eventually, it all blew up on the Dolphins, with Miami losing a first-round pick for blatantly tampering with Brady and Payton.

One year later, Brady is inching toward free agency. More tampering is surely happening. A secret plan could again be hatched at some point before he officially is available to sign with another team. And we’ll see whether the truth about any such plan ever comes out.