Joe Montana has been around NFL football since starting his legendary career in 1979, and he has never witnessed anything like the stunning exit by former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown against the New York Jets on Sunday.
The four-time Super Bowl champion shared his reaction to the scene on the 3rd hour of TODAY Monday, a day after Brown took off his uniform, threw his undershirt in the stands and gave a peace sign to the crowd before leaving the field at MetLife Stadium in the third quarter of the Bucs' eventual comeback win over the Jets.
"Total insanity," Montana said. "I mean, where is it coming from? Obviously he needs some help. I've never seen anything like it."
Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians said at the press conference following the game that Brown, 33, is "no longer a Buc."
Brown was playing in his second game back since being suspended for three games after he violated the NFL's protocols when he misrepresented his COVID-19 vaccination status.
"Obviously he's probably dreamt of being in the NFL for his whole life, and here you are and you've got the job that everybody wants, and you're acting crazy," Montana said. "I just don't even know what to make of it. I've seen a lot of crazy things from people, but nothing to this magnitude. I just don't know what was going through his mind when he did that. I think everybody was shocked."
The incident occurred after Arians repeatedly told Brown to enter the game, and he refused, resulting in Arians informing Brown to leave, according to Jay Glazer of “NFL on Fox,” which aired the game.
This was Brown's second season with the Bucs. He caught a touchdown pass from Tom Brady as part of last year's 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl.
In addition to the COVID-19 protocol suspension, the erratic wideout has a history of misconduct. He pleaded no contest to burglary and battery charges in 2020 after allegedly participating in an attack on a truck driver in Florida and received two years' probation.
Brown denied sexual assault allegations during one season with the New England Patriots in 2019 after being accused in a lawsuit of sexually assaulting a former trainer and countersued. He was never charged, and attorneys for Brown and the former trainer reached a settlement over the lawsuit last year.
Brown also had a turbulent stint with the Las Vegas Raiders after establishing himself as one of the NFL's top receivers while on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Montana also reacted on TODAY to the sad news that NFL legend John Madden, a Hall of Fame coach, television commentator and namesake of a hugely popular video game series, died at 85 last week. Madden was the color analyst on numerous games during Montana's career with the San Francisco 49ers in the 1980s and early '90s.
"John made everyone want to watch football is the way I saw it," Montana said. "He made watching football fun. He explained it in ways that made people laugh, that made people understand what really takes place on the field.
"It's sad that he's gone, but his legend on the field, off the field, the things he's done for the gaming industry, just amazing. He's one of those guys that as a player, you'd want to play for."
Montana is the subject of a new series on NBC's streaming service, Peacock, called "Joe Montana: Cool Under Pressure" about his football journey to greatness. Montana, who retired in his late 30s, said he might've been like Brady and played into his 40s in today's game, where there are more rules against quarterbacks taking booming tackles from defenses.
"If you took away a lot of the hits, yeah for sure," Montana said.
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