Amid Joe Montana’s high praise of Tom Brady, the Hall-of-Famer hopes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback won’t end his career with regret as he did in 1995.
“Play as long as you can,” Montana said according to Fox News’ Daniel Canova. “Because once it’s over, it’s over. And if you try to get back to it after you retire especially at a later age, it’s hard to get that motivation back again. So, as long as you can keep it going, and if people want you to play, keep playing.”
Brady’s wife, Giesele Bundchen, at least alluded to retiring after Super Bowl LV, which Brady admitted during an interview with James Corden on the Late Late Show with James Corden. Otherwise, Brady has shown interest in playing until age 45 or later in addition to the Bucs wanting to extend his contract. Brady hasn’t shown significant signs of regression in throwing for the second-most touchdowns in a season, 40, for his career in 2020.
Montana didn’t play out his contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, retiring in 1995 at age 39 amid nagging injuries. It ended a 16-year career where he won four Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers, three Super Bowl MVPs, and two regular season MVPs. He took the Chiefs to the AFC title game in 1993. He said that he regretted retiring so soon in an interview with USA Today’s Mackenzie Salmon via USA Today’s Chiefs Wire.
“Even to this day I look back and regret that I left the Chiefs even with one year on my contract,” Montana told Salmon via Chiefs Wire. “But it was more of a physical thing for me. The injuries that I’d had — the concussion that I had the year before — was really one of the worst ones that I had. Looking ahead at my family and the ages of my four kids and I was missing a lot with them. I really wanted to be able to do physical things, which, I’m still limited now, after all. I made the right decision for me at the time.”
Retire from Retiring?
Montana’s take on players retiring and not coming back generally holds, there have been exceptions — including Brady’s long-time teammate Rob Gronkowski. The Bucs tight end came out of retirement in 2020 via a trade with the New England Patriots.
Gronkowski hardly missed a beat with 45 receptions, 623 yards, and seven touchdowns in 2020. He caught two touchdowns in the Super Bowl as he and Brady bested Montana and Jerry Rice’s postseason touchdown record.
Brady likely wouldn’t be able to retire and unretire amid Bundchen’s interest in him hanging up the cleats.
Montana Tabs Brady as the GOAT
Montana clearly indicated that Brady is the greatest of all time, the GOAT, on ESPN’s “First Take” on Wednesday. He said that there’s been many great quarterbacks in the history of the game but noted that Brady’s achievements and longevity “definitely puts him at the top of the list.”
Brady, who has already played five years longer than Montana, has shattered the previous GOAT’s records. Montana threw for 40,551 yards and 273 touchdowns compared to Brady’s 79,204 yards and 581 touchdowns. Brady also has more than twice as many Super Bowl appearances and almost twice as many wins and Super Bowl MVPs.
“I think it’s been great. It’s been great for football,” Montana told Fox News regarding Brady’s success.