Brett Favre has become the latest player to play a number of years for one team, then with his career on the tail end, moves to another team to try and find one last run of success. This isn’t the first time, nor the last that it’s happened in the NFL, and just in case you forgot, here are some other high profile players that ended their careers with teams that they didn’t start with.
Johnny Unitas – Pittsburgh (1955), Baltimore (1956-1972), San Diego (1973): Unitas’ fame came with the Colts, but after a number of great years in Baltimore that Johnny U was traded to the Chargers before the 1973 season. The Chargers went 2-11-1 that year, and the 40-year-old Unitas was a shell of his great HOF days with the Colts.
Joe Montana – San Francisco (1979-1992), Kansas City (1993-1994): Joe’s success with the 49’ers came complete with four Super Bowls, and even though he was near the end, he did find some success with the Chiefs, leading them to two playoff seasons. The end was not nearly as bad as it was for some other HOF QB’s.
O.J. Simpson – Buffalo (1969-1977), San Francisco (1978-1979): The Juice was a force with the Bills, becoming the first NFL player to go over 2,000 yards rushing in a season. He got hurt in the 1977 season, and then before the following year was traded to the Niners for a second round draft pick. He never was the same, and walked away after two forgettable seasons in SF.
Joe Namath – New York Jets (1965-1976), Los Angeles Rams (1977): Clearly “Broadway Joe” would have been better served to have walked away before playing all of three games for the Rams in the 77 season. By the time the Jets waived him so he could move to the Rams, he was a shadow of the QB that won Super Bowl III. Beat up by knee and hamstring injuries, Joe was nowhere near where he was as a Jet.
Franco Harris – (Pittsburgh 1972-1983), Seattle (1984): The 7-time All-Pro selection decided to play hard ball with the Rooney family following the 1983 season, asking them for a pay raise, and saying he would hold out if he didn’t get one. Instead of budging, the Steelers released Harris, who took his ball and went west to Seattle. In one awful season with the Hawks he played in just 8 games, rushing for 170 yards and no TD’s. He was done after that.
Others to remember: Jerry Rice, Emmit Smith, Roger Craig, Reggie White, Ronnie Lott