No one knows what the truth is when sources are involved in a report until something actually happens to support one side or another. This morning, for example, I reported the Dolphins are releasing Phillip Merling, citing an unnamed source.
Well, the Dolphins have released Phillip Merling today.
But sometimes it's impossible to know the truth no matter what happens. Such is the case with the respectful back and forth I've apparently walked into with both Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com and respected NFL beat writer Peter King.
Last night, Florio reported Dolphins owner Steve Ross is "pushing" the Dolphins to pick Ryan Tannehill. The report, important if accurate because it would mean a real estate developer is pushing the buttons on Miami's football decisions, prompted me to reach out to several sources.
I got word back from one of them who vehemently denied the report. The source is very, very, very high up in the Dolphins organization.
Anyway, this morning King also reported the same thing Florio reported. I was thus outnumbered on the anonymous source front!
Except that this afternoon, Florio hosted a segment with Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland on his PFT Live broadcast . And Florio asked him about his report verus my report, including my "very, very, very" description of my source.
"I would tell you Steve is very engaged but he's also very supportive of leaving the decision in the draft up to me and coach Philbin, our scouts and football staff," Ireland said. "I said in my opening press conference last week that I don't feel at all any pressure to draft a need position or anything like that. And I would segue this comment in there: I don't feel pressure from the owner. And he's not pressuring me for that matter. I don't know where that's coming from.
"He's allows me to make the football decisions. He's always allowed me to make the football decisions along with my head coach and our staff. So he understands the process. He understands the thought process. he stands by our draft analysis and he knows the kind of preparation that goes into it and he's fully supportive."
Thus I now outflank Florio and King with an actual on-the-record response. Yeah, just having some fun here because this is the truth:
We don't know the truth.
It is possible Florio and King are totally wrong, as my source and Ireland are saying. On the other hand, it is possible my source is trying to use me (bad idea because that would make me very angry and the Dolphins shouldn't want me writing angry because I'm good at it) and thus I would be wrong.
How will we know?
Well, if the Dolphins do not draft Tannehill, Florio and King were wrong. The fact is Ross is the owner and if he truly is "pushing" Ireland to pick Tannehill, I can pretty much assure you that will get done because Ross signs the checks. So if Tannehill isn't the pick, there's no way he was pushing Ireland toward Tannehill in the first place.
And what if Tannehill is the pick? I guess some of you would say that vindicates Florio and King. I say it only means that's the pick and we all figured that was the way it might go the entire time, dating back a month or more since Peyton Manning went to Denver.
Bottom line? We may never know for sure on this one.