Few players in NFL history likely understand Tom Brady's situation better than Joe Montana, who was traded by the San Francisco 49ers in the twilight of his legendary career.
Brady was instead able to gain control of his fate. He decided to leave for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency without the New England Patriots making a serious attempt to keep him, and it's the Patriots' choice that Montana can't understand.
"I don't know what’s going on inside there, but somebody made a mistake," Montana told USA TODAY Sports' Jarrett Bell on Wednesday.
In his introductory press conference Tuesday, Brady refused to go into detail about his motivation for leaving the only franchise he'd ever known.
However, a report by ESPN's Seth Wickersham pointed to the deteriorating relationship between Brady and head coach Bill Belichick as the primary reason for the dramatic split.
"(Brady) wanted what everyone wants from an employer: to feel valued and to love work," wrote Wickersham. "They seemed like reasonable asks - until Brady realized that in New England, under Bill Belichick, he might be asking the impossible."
Because of this, Montana believes the Bucs will be getting an invigorated Brady.
"I think it's going to be fun for him," Montana said. "Probably for the first time in a long time he'll be having fun, if I understand what he's been saying, or what I've been reading."
Brady is entering uncharted territory in 2020. No QB has ever been a productive starter at 43 years old. Montana was traded at 36, and after two substandard years with the Kansas City Chiefs, the signal-caller retired.
But the Hall of Famer thinks that if anyone can keep the competitive fire alive, it's Brady.
"No one will put more pressure on him to perform than himself," said Montana.