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PRO FOOTBALL : Montana Era Could End for 49ers This Week

April 04, 1993|Associated Press

Joe Montana could leave the San Francisco 49ers as early as next week, according to a published report Saturday.

The Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Phoenix Cardinals all have inquired about Montana and are prepared to make offers, according to a report published in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

"Something could happen this weekend, or definitely by Monday," a source close to the team told the newspaper. "Kansas City and Tampa have been talking, and now Phoenix is in the running."

Montana was on vacation and could not be reached for comment. His agents, Peter Johnson and Tom Condon, also were out of town and could not be reached.

John McVay, the 49ers' vice president, told the newspaper he was unaware of any impending deal.

"We all know what's been going on," McVay said, "but I don't think anything is imminent."

Montana, 36, led the 49ers to four Super Bowl championships, but has been plagued by an arm injury for the past two seasons, during which he played just half of a regular season.

The 49ers have already signed Steve Young as their starting quarterback.

Montana's availability hinges on the status of quarterback Steve Bono, who is an unrestricted free agent. Bono has not announced his decision on whether he will re-sign with the 49ers as Young's backup.

The Pittsburgh Steelers confirmed a published report that they had agreed to a three-year contract with Cleveland Brown quarterback Mike Tomczak worth $850,000 per year.

The signing of Tomczak means Bubby Brister, the backup last season to Neil O'Donnell, probably will be traded. Brister made $1.2 million last year and was the team's second-highest paid player behind cornerback Rod Woodson.

Steeler Coach Bill Cowher said the signing of Tomczak, a former Chicago Bears starter, "gives us a very healthy situation at quarterback." He said Tomczak, who backed up Bernie Kosar in Cleveland last season, is familiar with AFC Central opponents.

The Steelers signed O'Donnell to a three year, $8.2 million contract on Friday night.

Offensive lineman Bill Fralic said he will leave the Atlanta Falcons to play for the Detroit Lions or New York Jets. The eight-year veteran said the Lions are offering $5.25 million for three years and the Jets $5.06 million. Either would make Fralic the highest-paid guard in NFL history. . . . Cornerback Eric Thomas left Cincinnati for the Jets. Terms were not disclosed. Thomas, 28, spent his first six NFL seasons with the Bengals. "We're glad to be able to add a veteran cornerback to our defense who has the reputation of being one of the better cover guys in the league," general manager Dick Steinberg said.

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