As the 42-year-old Brady enters free agency for the first time in his 20-year career, Montana can relate to where Brady is at in his career. That would be because the four-time Super Bowl champion made a team change late in his career when he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs at the age of 37 in 1993.
In his latest interview, Montana warned Brady not to leave the Patriots.
Via Michael Silver of NFL.com:
“Don’t (leave) — if you don’t have to,” Montana said. “It’s a process to go through, and it takes time to get used to the team. I was fortunate because (former 49ers quarterbacks coach) Paul Hackett was (in Kansas City) running the offense, and so I was pretty familiar with probably three-quarters of the offense going in. And, if they let him have his own offense (with a new team), yeah, that makes it a little bit easier. But still, the transition of moving … I just can’t see how they would let him leave there, myself.”
Montana Says It Won’t Be Easy to Change Teams For Brady
The Hall-of-Fame quarterback made sure to stress that just because Brady is the most accomplished quarterback in the NFL, it doesn’t mean the transition is going to be easy heading to another team at this advanced stage of his career.
“It’s not easy to go to another team and get accepted, no matter how much success you’ve had and how many years you’ve played,” Montana told Silver. “They still want to see you come in and be the same player and be that loyal to them as you were to the other team you just left. So, it’s not easy (for) guys looking at that change, especially at the quarterback position.”
Although Montana had some success with the Chiefs — he led Kansas City to the AFC Championship Game during his final season in 1994 — he didn’t come close to the success that he had with the San Francisco 49ers. Although it was a productive two-year stint in Kansas City, those Chiefs years are often forgotten when discussing Montana’s legacy.
Patriots Want Brady Back
Brady faces a similar situation at this stage of his career, except here’s the key difference — Brady isn’t being forced out. Despite one of the worst seasons of his career in recent years, the Patriots want Brady back. In the case of Montana, he was forced out of San Francisco because they had found a new franchise quarterback in Steve Young.
New England has yet to find another franchise quarterback, which means their best bet at quarterback is Brady.
“Before the season started it was very important to Tom that he be free to do whatever he wanted at the end of the year. You know what I said to myself? That any person who plays 20 years for this team and helps us get to six Super Bowls, and been really selfless, has earned that right. I love the young man like he’s part of my family. Blood family. Anyone who’s done that has earned the right to control his future after 20 years. And you know, my hope and prayer is number one, he plays for the Patriots. Or number two, he retires. He has the freedom to decide what he wants to do and what’s in his own best personal interest.”
“I’m thinking of all that, of all the quarterbacks who went elsewhere, and I just hope and believe that Tom . . . he is so special that he’s earned the right to do what’s best for him . . . But I just hope and pray we fit into his plans. He is unique in the kind of leader he is, his work ethic, his selfless nature, everything. Think about it: He’s been with us 20 percent of the life of the NFL.”
If Brady chooses to follow Montana’s advice, he won’t think twice about his decision — he would choose to return to New England for a 21st season.