Tony Sparano called Jason Taylor in recent days and with all the charm and charisma that convinces so many Dolphins to play hard 100 percent of the time, the coach told Taylor the two of them needed to meet this week.
Man to man. Coach to player.
Nobody needed to know about it, Sparano told Taylor.
And so Taylor didn't tell anyone about the meeting.
Taylor didn't tell his agent Gary Wichard. He didn't share it with any of his close confidants, either. So on Monday afternoon when ESPN senior insider Chris Mortensen reported on NFL Live that the meeting was coming this week, everyone connected with Taylor denied they knew about it because, well, they didn't.
But obviously someone inside the Dolphins organization told Mortensen. So the same organization that swore Taylor to secrecy leaked news of the meeting to the Worldwide Leader -- a figurative national bullhorn.
What is the deal with these Miami Dolphins? On the one hand, they're asking players to keep in-house matters in-house. On the other hand they're planting stories in the national media.
And what is the point? On the one hand, they seem to be reaching out to Taylor. But, in fact, by leaking the story, they have actually done damage to whatever they might be trying to accomplish. Taylor was disappointed with the team late Monday night when he learned news of the planned meeting leaked from the team after he was told to tell no one.
The Dolphins have been in lockdown mode on the Taylor issue for weeks. General Manager Jeff Ireland calls Wichard regularly every time facts about the Taylor-Dolphins negotiations -- or lack of negotiations -- get out in the media.
But Ireland is working for the very organization that slips ESPN interesting little notes -- like Ronnie Brown being on the trade block or Joey Porter not playing the rest of the season after his 2009 suspension. Granted, sometimes the information is flawed, but apparently the tuna can that is the Miami Dolphins isn't very well sealed.
The greater point is the Dolphins work in unorthodox ways. They have asked players to betray their agents -- as with the Ricky Williams contract extension that excluded agent Leigh Steinberg. And they betray their players -- as in leaking news of Taylor's private meeting with Sparano.
The now well-chronicled meeting, by the way, is still scheduled for the next day or so. Taylor is scheduled to go out of town with his wife late in the week. (No, he isn't going to New York to sign a contract.) At least that wasn't the plan late Monday before Taylor found out the meeting was all over the Internet.
So where does this meeting go? What purpose does it serve?
It should probably start with Sparano apologizing to Taylor. The coach put his reputation on the line in asking Taylor to keep things private, but his team instead turned around and opened its information pipeline to ESPN. That cannot help the Dolphins' agenda unless the agenda is to simply make a public relations move -- one the Dolphins want publicized on national TV.
Maybe the meeting is meant to tell Taylor to go quietly into the night -- or in this case to simply take an offer from the New York Jets.
But if the point of the meeting is to be sincere and try to convince Taylor to be patient with the Dolphins, to wait until after the draft and hedge his bet Miami might want him back, this definitely is a strange way to go about that.
Strange and wrong.