Rookie QBs have it tough, says Montana

Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:45am EST
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By Adam Rose

BEIJING (Reuters) - Highly-paid rookie quarterbacks are under increasing pressure to make an instant impact in the NFL, former San Francisco 49ers great Joe Montana said on Monday.

"There's more pressure because they're making a lot more money. When you get paid all that money they want you to start right away," he told Reuters during a promotional event for NFL China in Beijing.

"Just to stay and make it through the year, it's pretty good. If you can do that and hang on to your job for that long as a rookie, then you're doing a pretty good job."

Huge hopes have been pinned on the crop of new recruits over recent seasons, with the spotlight on the likes of Heisman trophy-winning college quarterbacks Sam Bradford of the St Louis Rams, Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III at the Washington Redskins.

Griffin set the NFL alight last year during a spectacular rookie season but following injury has struggled in this campaign, while 2013 rookies like Geno Smith of the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills' EJ Manuel, chosen in the first round of this year's draft, are still finding their feet.

Montana downplayed what fans should expect from new players.

"It's a tough go, no matter what, for that first year," Montana said.

"There's a lot of things that are so much different, so much more complicated than it appears on television, than it might be."   Continued...

Inductee and former San Francisco 49'ers quarterback Joe Montana signs autographs as he arrives at the 7th Annual California Hall of Fame induction ceremony at The California Museum in Sacramento, California March 20, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni