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Trade Completes the Montana Deal

April 21, 1993|BOB OATES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Although Joe Montana has sat out for nearly two seasons because of an elbow injury, this is what Bill Walsh, his former coach, had to say about him Tuesday after watching him perform in recent weeks:

"He is able to throw and move virtually as well as he ever did. And I think he can play in a game as well as he's ever played."

For that reason, the Kansas City Chiefs coveted Montana. And in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers, they landed him Tuesday night.

Carl Peterson, president and general manager of the Chiefs, said that the deal breaks down this way:

--To San Francisco: the Chiefs' first-round choice in Sunday's draft.

--To Kansas City: Montana plus 49er safety David Whitmore plus San Francisco's third-round draft choice in 1994.

"We have wanted Joe and Joe has wanted us ever since we signed Paul Hackett as our new offensive coordinator," Peterson said, referring to the assistant coach who served Walsh and coached Montana in their Super Bowl years.

"Joe was the first person to congratulate (Hackett) after we hired him," Peterson said. "And when the 49ers gave Joe permission to make a deal for himself, he had his representative, Peter Johnson, call us.

"We are obviously pleased and excited. This year we're changing to the (Walsh) system, and hardly anybody knows that system better than Montana and Hackett. Joe will be like a coach on the field."

Peterson, the veteran football executive and personnel expert who took charge of the Chiefs in December of 1988, turned them around instantly with new players and a new coach, Marty Schottenheimer.

But because the club has been tailing off offensively in recent seasons, Peterson and owner Lamar Hunt decided to make a change this year, first with Hackett and then Montana.

"I'm not going to put any pressure on (Montana) with any predictions," Peterson said. "But I'd obviously like to see him take us to the next level, and hopefully beyond that."

The next level would be the AFC Western Division championship.

"We've had success, but we have yet to win that," Peterson said.

Montana will turn 37 this season, but the Chiefs figure that his real age will be more like 35 after two years off. And the Chiefs agree with Walsh that Montana is physically sound again after two years of elbow rehabilitation.

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