The NFL has been a quarterback-driven league since Joe Montana was throwing the ball to the likes of Jerry Rice, John Taylor and Dwight Clark, and it remains that way through the first 12 weeks of the 2022 season.
Entering Week 13, Deshaun Watson and Tom Brady dominate the storylines. Watson returns to the field for his first regular-season game in 700 days, while Brady’s surprise play at age 45 has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers atop the NFC South despite their losing record.
Watson is about to play his first official game with the Cleveland Browns on Sunday against his former team, the Houston Texans.
Watson sat out the entire 2021 season after he requested to be traded amid damning allegations of sexual misconduct against him. More than two dozen women filed civil lawsuits against him, alleging that he exposed himself, touched or kissed them against his will.
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It settled 23 of the lawsuits. Two more are pending. Two grand juries in Texas have declined to indict him on criminal charges. He agreed to an 11-game suspension before the start of the season and was allowed to play in preseason for the Browns before being sidelined until last week.
Montana told Fox News Digital in a recent interview that he expected it would take time for Watson to get back into the swing of things, but not too long.
“Guys are used to getting hurt and missing multiple games, and it’s going to take a while, even in practice, to get used to things,” Montana said. “But he’s going to jump into the saddle pretty quickly. Obviously with a different team, so it’s going to require a bit of adjusting at the same time as well.”
“But how well will he perform? I’m betting my money he’s average, maybe a little better (than average) than he normally plays just because no matter what you actually do in practice and how physically you stay fit or do the things you need to do, there’s nothing like real-time in-game stuff. And it’s going to take him a little bit. I don’t think it’s going to take a long time for him to get back into the groove, but it’ll take a game or two.”
Debate raged after Brady left the New England Patriots for the Buccaneers before the start of the 2020 season over who was the GOAT of the NFL, Brady or Montana. The latter played until he was 38 years old, and Brady continues to put together quality seasons at age 45.
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Montana said that, in Brady’s case, it was good to have a strong supporting cast around him to avoid injuries.
“I think everybody’s getting used to it now,” he said of Brady sticking out in his mid-40s. “But when he started to keep playing, obviously, a lot of things played into that. He’s a great player. He’s got a great team on both sides of the ball, and that helps you. Not getting hit makes it a little bit easier to get past as well. those games physically. So when you get to next week, you’re still not banged up and you don’t have as many injuries.
“They’ve taken away a lot of things that a quarterback would normally get hurt, like low blows and compression on the ground by the defensive lineman. So, I’m not surprised that he’s (outstanding). In fact, I was surprised that Drew Brees he came out of the game like that at that age. He was playing pretty well when he came out.”
Montana, now 66, partnered with Wellcare to help seniors with guidance during their Medicare enrollment period. Montana has been eligible for Medicare for a year and knows firsthand that the process can be confusing, especially with the December 7 deadline looming.
“I really didn’t think I’d be sitting here talking to anybody about this,” he told Fox News Digital. “The process was really much more difficult and confusing. And there are people trying to sell you a bunch of bullshit, things you don’t really need or want. Once we met with the WellCare team, they really smoothed out this process.
“Honestly, I felt like they really wanted you to fight and miss the December 7 date,” Montana said of the process. “I’m really not sure why there’s a deadline, but there is. So we’re trying to get the word out to make sure you find someone and go through this process because even though you think you might have it, in the end once you figure it out, the deadline might pass.”
Montana said part of the goal is to stay as healthy as possible.
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“You have to find ways that fit what makes you comfortable,” he explained. “You have to find a way to exercise, whether it’s walking, jogging. I’m kind of tied up by the stationary bike or walking. I’ve had 27 surgeries, so it’s been one of those things where it’s a little different for me. .
“But I know health-wise I have to keep up. The best way to do that is to have your family around you, your friends, whatever it takes to help you start eating better.”
“I think those are the most important things. You have to find ways to keep your mind and body in shape, and you have to exercise it. Everything. You have to exercise your mind to exercise your body, and I have to eat right.”