Free agency and trades have made even some of the best players in National Football League history switch teams, usually late in their respective careers. As a result, we've seen plenty of NFL legends join forces over the years, whether it was in the prime of one, both, or none of the pair's careers.
For most, a change of scenery doesn't end well. A guy like defensive end Richard Dent bounced around at the end of his career with little success, much like quarterback Johnny Unitas and wide receiver Tim Brown.
For every sad story of an over-the-hill legend playing out the string in a depressing fashion there are some positive stories. Running back Marcus Allen had a resurgence with the Kansas City Chiefs late in his career, earning him the Comeback Player of the Year award. Fellow running back Emmitt Smith looked washed up in his first season with the Arizona Cardinals in 2003, but quickly rebounded the following season to total over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns.
Some of the best veterans we know today who are bound for the Hall of Fame have played with these legends. Larry Fitzgerald joined forces with Smith after entering the league in 2004 but was still green. Running back Frank Gore played with two legendary receivers during his career, although both were past their prime.
We get so caught up in the great moments in NFL history that we forget some of the best players in league history played together. Granted, it wasn't a memorable pairing but is interesting nonetheless.
Don't worry if you've forgotten because we're going to break it down right here, right now.
15 Frank Gore and Randy Moss
Isaac Bruce wasn't the only Hall of Fame receiver Gore played with. In 2012, Moss signed on to play for the Niners in his final season in the NFL. It certainly wasn't his best, as Moss had just 28 receptions for 434 yards and three touchdowns. Gore was in the prime of his career at that time and earned over 1,400 yards from scrimmage and nine total touchdowns.
14 Warren Moon and Tony Gonzalez
Many people remember Moon as a legendary quarterback for the Houston Oilers, but he suited up for the Chiefs in 1999 and 2000. Moon came to Kansas City and was the backup to quarterback Elvis Grbac. In two seasons, Moon played in just three games and decided to finally retire in 2001.
13 Ray Lewis and Warren Sapp
Two of the greatest defensive players in league history were once teammates, albeit in college. The linebacker Lewis and defensive tackle Sapp were both members of the Miami Hurricanes, or the "U" as the program's players like to call it.
It wasn't a wise idea to run the ball up the middle on Miami in the early nineties, as both Lewis and Sapp were elite defenders up the gut. Both also played with former WWE star Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson at Miami. Sapp and Johnson played the same position, defensive tackle.
12 Andre Johnson and Ed Reed
Reed's time with the Houston Texans was an unmitigated disaster and didn't help a Texans roster that included Johnson. He played in just seven games and didn't even make it through the season before being released. Reed wasn't the only disaster, though, as star running back Arian Foster also saw his season come to an end early due to injury.
11 LaDanian Tomlinson and Darrelle Revis
Revis might not be the shutdown corner he once was, but my what a shutdown corner he used to be. In his prime, Revis was a lock to stop any top receiver in the league and he finally got his hands on a Super Bowl trophy as a member of the 2014 New England Patriots. He returned to Gang Green in 2015 and hasn't been the same since.
10 Joe Montana and O.J. Simpson
A young guy named Montana from Notre Dame entered the league as a third-round pick for the Niners in 1979 when Simpson became a member of the team. Although Montana played in all 16 regular season games that year, he threw just 23 passes. He didn't become the full-time starter until the 1980 season.
Arguably one of the best running backs in NFL history, Simpson's time had come to retire, but he decided to give it one more go. He joined the Niners in 1978 and played in 23 games over two seasons, just barely totaling 1,000 yards on the ground combined.
9 Frank Gore and Isaac Bruce
Gore, who is in the top-10 in career rushing yards, and Bruce, who is ranked 4th all-time in receiving yards, were on the same offense in 2008 and 2009. Bruce was fairly productive in his first season in San Francisco with 835 yards and seven touchdowns, however, his second season wasn't as successful after playing in just 10 games.
8 Cris Carter and Jason Taylor
Before hanging up his cleats for good, Carter played one season in Miami and joined a roster that included an all-time great defensive end, Jason Taylor.
For Carter, he was merely a role player at this point in his career and was actually lured out of retirement by the Dolphins from his TV gig on HBO's Inside the NFL. He only corralled eight passes for 66 yards and one score in five games and missed some time due to a kidney ailment. He was best known for two things in Miami: a great, one-handed touchdown catch and a crucial drop in the end zone against his former team, the Vikings.
7 Larry Fitzgerald and Emmitt Smith
After a long and successful career with the Dallas Cowboys, Smith moved on to play for the Arizona Cardinals for the last two seasons of his career. He was actually productive in his second year with the Cardinals - the final one of his career - with over 1,000 yards of total offense and nine rushing touchdowns.
6 Dan Fouts and Johnny Unitas
Two of the very best at the quarterback position in NFL history became teammates in 1973 when Unitas was traded to the Chargers from the Colts. Both players were on opposite paths, however, as Unitas was on his last leg in the league and Fouts was just entering as a rookie after the Chargers drafted him in the third round of the 1973 NFL Draft.
5 Tim Brown and Derrick Brooks
When you think of Brown, you think of the Raiders, a team he spent almost his entire career with. That is until 2004 when Brown joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played on the same team as Hall of Fame linebacker, Derrick Brooks. Unfortunately for then head coach John Gruden, the Bucs finished 5-11 and missed the playoffs for a second straight season.
4 Richard Dent and Marshall Faulk
In his second-to-last season in the NFL, Dent joined the Indianapolis Colts and was a teammate of Faulk's in 1996. It was a revival of sorts for Dent's career after he played in just five games combined the past two seasons. He finished with 6.5 sacks and 15 combined tackles. As for Faulk, the running back compiled over 1,000 total yards in 13 contests.
3 Richard Dent and Deion Sanders
Neither Sanders nor Dent lasted long in San Francisco, but the legendary pair of defenders did play with one another in 1994 while with the Niners. Sanders played in 14 regular season games and had 44 combined tackles and six picks, three of which were taken to the house. Dent, on the other hand, played in just two contests that season due to injury and notched just two sacks and eight combined tackles.
2 Brett Favre and Randy Moss
Favre joined the Minnesota Vikings to much fanfare in 2009 after leaving the division rival Green Bay Packers in 2007 and failing miserably with the New York Jets in 2008. He was joined by Moss in 2010 after the future Hall of Fame wideout was traded to the Vikings from the New England Patriots. It appeared to be a match made in heaven given both players' historic numbers, however, that wasn't the case.
Moss would play in just four games for Minnesota that season, his second stint with the team. He totaled just 174 yards and two touchdowns before being waived, and he was later claimed by the Tennessee Titans. Favre's 2010 season ended with him throwing for 2,509 yards in 13 games, with 11 touchdowns and 19 interceptions.
1 Joe Montana and Marcus Allen
Two all-time greats at their respective positions crossed paths in 1993 when Montana and Allen both joined the Kansas City Chiefs. The pair would spend two seasons together and make two trips to the playoffs, with Allen even winning Comeback Player of the Year honors in his first season with the team.
The Chiefs would make the playoffs twice with the two veterans, and made it as far as the AFC Championship Game in 1993, which was lost to the Buffalo Bills. Allen finished that season with over 1,000 yards and an astounding 15 total touchdowns, while Montana barely broke 2,000 yards in 11 games, with 13 touchdowns and seven picks.
Montana would retire following the 1994 season, leaving Allen behind to play the last three seasons of his career in KC. It's safe to say the Chiefs' investment in two aging players paid off and almost resulted in a Super Bowl appearance.
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