New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is able to leave the only NFL team he's ever played for when free agency opens in March, and one NFL legend wouldn't encourage the six-time Super Bowl champion to switch teams.
Joe Montana spent 13 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and won four Super Bowl titles. However, he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs before the 1993 season, where he played the final two years of his Hall of Fame career. Even though Montana's departure from San Francisco was a trade and not a free agent exit, he still understands the decision Brady will soon have to make.
What advice would Montana give Brady?
"Don't (leave) -- if you don't have to," Montana tells NFL Media's Mike Silver in an interview scheduled to air Sunday on NFL Network.
"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 there running the offense, and so I was pretty familiar with probably three-quarters of the offense going in. And, if they let (Brady) 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."
If any player could switch teams and make a seamless transition, Brady would be among the leading candidates. He's one of the smartest and best prepared players to ever play quarterback. That said, Montana knows from experience that changing teams is a challenging task.
"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."
The best decision for Brady would be to retire as a Patriot. New England has great ownership, the best head coach in pro football history and a roster that, with some upgrades on offense made over the offseason, could be right back in the Super Bowl mix next season.