Titans head coach Mike Vrabel FaceTime’d with Tom Brady while the 42-year-old quarterback was at a Syracuse/UNC basketball game with Julian Edelman on Feb. 29. Vrabel, who played for the Patriots from 2001 to 2008, says he was just calling his friend. No big deal.
Tiki Barber, however, believes this was tampering.
“It is tampering,” Barber said in a no-brainer tone on Tiki & Tierney. “Of course it is. They have a relationship. This is the point of the rule.”
According to NFL rules, tampering “refers to any interference by a member club with the employer-employee relationship of another club or any attempt by a club to impermissibly induce a person to seek employment with that club or with the NFL.”
Brady is under contract with New England until March 18 at 4 p.m. ET.
“Prior to three months ago, when he was under contract and playing for the New England Patriots and we had no idea – or even questioned – where he was going to play, they could have a text conversation or a phone conversation or a video chat or whatever the heck they want to do,” Barber said. “Now that we are on the precipice of free agency and Mike Vrabel is the head coach and Tom Brady is a soon-to-be free agent, this is tampering. This is what it was created for – to break up relationships that give certain teams an unfair advantage when it comes to free agency. Because you could easily – just like in the NBA – have these conversations.”
And you could just as easily cover them up.
“‘Hey, you should think about [playing] with us,’” Barber said. “‘We’re going to do this, this, this, this, and this. It’s going to be a great destination for you. But you’re just my friend, right? We’re just having these friendly conversations.’ Until you’re basically working out a deal while having a friendly conversation.”
Still, while Barber believes this was tampering, he’s not too bent out of shape about it.
“Now, do I care?” he said, laughing. “That’s a different question.”