Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now


By Charles Apple
The Spokesman-Review

While the rest of the world was busy dealing with the coronavirus, Tom Brady shook up the NFL by leaving New England — his home for the past 20 years — for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But Brady won’t be the first professional player to change teams near the end of his career:

Yogi Berra

BEFORE: Won 13 World Series and three AL MVP awards over 18 seasons with the Yankees.

AFTER: One season as a player/ coach for the Mets, then 11 seasons as a Mets’ coach and manager.

Jim Taylor

BEFORE: Nine seasons, a Super Bowl ring and an NFL MVP trophy with the Packers.

AFTER: Selected by the Saints in the NFL expansion draft but played only one season.

Willie Mays

BEFORE: Won a World Series and two NL MVP awards over 21 seasons with the Giants in New York and San Francisco.

AFTER: Played a season and a half with the Mets.

Johnny Unitas

BEFORE: 17 seasons and 3 NFL MVP trophies with the Baltimore Colts.

AFTER: Started five games for the Chargers — all losses — then was replaced by Dan Fouts.

Hank Aaron

BEFORE: Won a World Series, and one NL MVP award over 21 seasons with the Braves in Milwaukee and Atlanta.

AFTER: Spent two seasons with the Brewers.

Joe Namath

BEFORE: Became a pop culture icon over 12 seasons and one Super Bowl win with the Jets.

AFTER:Namath moved to L.A. but his knees didn’t. He played in only 4 games with the Rams.

O.J. Simpson

BEFORE: Nine seasons with the Buffalo Bills, five Pro Bowl appearances and a handful of NFL rushing records.

AFTER: Two lackluster seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.

Dave Cowens

BEFORE: Two NBA titles and an NBA MVP trophy over 10 seasons with the Boston Celtics.

AFTER: Played just 40 games over one season with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Franco Harris

BEFORE: Four Super Bowl wins over 12 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

AFTER: One season with the Seattle Seahawks in which he appeared in only 8 games.

Tony Dorsett

BEFORE: 11 seasons and four Pro Bowl appearances with the Dallas Cowboys.

AFTER: One decent season with the Denver Broncos before he retired after a knee injury.

Joe Montana

BEFORE: Six Super Bowl rings over 14 seasons with the 49ers.

AFTER: Two seasons in Kansas City — and narrowly missing leading the Chiefs to the Super Bowl in 1993.

Patrick Ewing

BEFORE: Spent 15 with the Knicks and appeared in the NBA All-Star game 11 times.

AFTER: One season with the SuperSonics and one on the bench with the Magic.

Michael Jordan

BEFORE: Won 6 NBA titles and 5 NBA MVP trophies over 13 seasons with the Chicago Bulls.

AFTER: Retired yet again after two seasons for the Wizards and bought a stake in another NBA team.

Hakeem Olajuwon

BEFORE: 17 seasons and two NBA titles and two NBA Finals MVP awards with the Rockets.

AFTER: Averaged career lows in one season with the Toronto Raptors.

Emmitt Smith

BEFORE: Three Super Bowl rings and an NFL MVP trophy over 13 seasons with the Cowboys.

AFTER: Started in just 20 games over two seasons for the Cardinals.

Karl Malone

BEFORE: Earned two NBA MVP trophies over 18 seasons with the Utah Jazz.

AFTER: Moved to the Lakers in hope of an NBA title but blew out his knee and missed 39 games.

Jerry Rice

BEFORE: Three Super Bowl rings over 19 seasons with the 49ers and Raiders.

AFTER: Was traded to the Seahawks six games into the 2004 season, then retired.

Frank Thomas

BEFORE: Won two AL MVP awards over 16 seasons with the Chicago White Sox.

AFTER: Spent three seasons with the A’s, the Blue Jays and the A’s again.

Sammy Sosa

BEFORE: Won an NL MVP award over 13 seasons with the Chicago Cubs.

AFTER: One season with the Orioles, a year off and then one season with the Texas Rangers.

Brett Favre

BEFORE: 16 seasons and a Super Bowl win with the Green Bay Packers.

AFTER:One season with the Jets and two with the Vikings. Suffered a concussion in his final game in 2010.

Shaquille O’Neal

BEFORE: Four NBA titles and one MVP trophy over 19 seasons with the Magic, Lakers, Heat, Suns and Cavaliers.

AFTER: Spent one injury-plagued season with the Boston Celtics.

Donovan McNabb

BEFORE: Eight playoff appearances over 11 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

AFTER: One dismal season with the Redskins and another with the Minnesota Vikings.

Peyton Manning

BEFORE: Two AFC championships and one Super Bowl win in 14 seasons with Indianapolis.

AFTER: Four seasons in Denver and another Super Bowl win.

Tom Brady

BEFORE: Six Super Bowl rings in 20 seasons with the Patriots.

AFTER: Hey — Sounds like a win to us.

Sources: The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, USA Today, ESPN, ABC Sports, Fox Sports, Bleacher Report, The Sportster,,,,,,