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Ceremony to reunite Montana, San Francisco


SAN FRANCISCO -- Joe Quarterback will do his thing one more time.

This afternoon at the Justin Herman Plaza, Joe Montana will say he is retiring from football. What he adds after that is unimportant.

Frank Jordan, mayor of San Francisco, will say some appropriate words. Eddie DeBartolo, the 49ers' owner, with whom Montana forged a strong friendship, will be there.

Bill Walsh and George Seifert, his 49ers coaches; Carl Peterson and Carmen Policy, the Chiefs' and 49ers' presidents; Ronnie Lott, Roger Craig, Steve Bono and others he played with also will be there.

That is how Montana wanted it.

The 49ers and Chiefs were not involved in the planning. His trip to Kansas City tomorrow is a concession to the Chiefs. They would have preferred the announcement come in Kansas City.

"This whole thing about Joe has been handled out of Los Angeles," said Noah Griffin, the mayor's press secretary. "We are the beneficiaries."

Some Chiefs fans are miffed that Montana is making this announcement here. They embraced him when the 49ers discarded him in favor of the younger, more mobile Steve Young, who is not expected to attend the ceremony.

But this is where it will end for one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. The Chiefs were a two-minute drill in the final stages of a glorious career that spanned 15 seasons and four Super Bowl titles.

Montana will be 39 in June. He is coming off knee surgery. He has proved he still can play with the best, out-dueling John Elway at Mile High Stadium early last season and matching Dan Marino pass for pass for most of his final game as a Chief.

Montana will always have a special feeling for Kansas City, where he proved he could overcome two years of inactivity due to elbow surgery.

His heart, though, will always be in San Francisco.

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