Tom Brady’s departure from the New England Patriots brings an end to one of the NFL’s most memorable eras.
It also means fans should prepare for the sight of Brady in another uniform.
But that’s happened plenty of times before in sports — a legendary star switching teams toward the end of his career. Here are a few of the most prominent examples:
MONTANA AND RICE
Joe Montana was in some ways a previous generation’s version of Brady — an iconic quarterback who was calm under pressure and always seemed to have his team in contention for a championship. He won four Super Bowl titles with San Francisco, but after elbow problems limited him for a couple seasons, the 49ers — who had the excellent Steve Young as a replacement — traded Montana to Kansas City. The Chiefs had Montana for two seasons and reached the AFC title game with him once.
The 49ers eventually moved on from Montana’s most famous receiving target as well. They released Jerry Rice in 2001. He went on to play four more seasons, surpassing 1,000 yards receiving twice with the Oakland Raiders.
GO FOR A RING
Brady’s departure may remind Boston fans of when the Bruins said goodbye to Ray Bourque, but the circumstances were different. After two decades in Boston without a Stanley Cup title, Bourque asked to be traded to a contender, and the Bruins obliged by sending the star defenseman to Colorado in 2000. Bourque and the Avalanche won the Cup in 2001, and he brought it back to Boston for a celebration at City Hall Plaza. At that point, Boston was happy to celebrate a surrogate championship. The Red Sox were still stuck in their decades-long drought, and Brady’s first Super Bowl wasn’t until months later.