Timothy Donell Brown (born July 22, 1966) is a former American football wide receiver. He played college football for Notre Dame, where he won the Heisman Trophy, becoming the first wide receiver to win the award. He spent sixteen years with the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, during which he established himself as one of the NFL's most prolific wide receivers. His success with the Raiders organization earned him the nickname Mr. Raider. Brown has also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
High school and college career
Before his college career at Notre Dame, Brown played for Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas, the same school as 1938 Heisman Trophy winner Davey O'Brien. Despite his contributions, the team fared poorly, with a 4–25–1 record over his three years as a starter. Nevertheless, Brown was heavily recruited by major colleges. His five official visits were to Notre Dame, Nebraska, Oklahoma, nearby Southern Methodist and Iowa.
Brown chose the University of Notre Dame and played there from 1984–1987, earning the nickname "Touchdown Timmy." In his first year, he set a freshman record with twenty-eight receptions. As a junior, he set a record with 1,937 all-purpose yards. During 1987, Brown caught 34 passes for 846 yards, returned 34 punts for 401 yards, rushed for 144 yards, gained 456 yards on 23 kickoff returns, and scored eight touchdowns. Brown finished his career at Notre Dame with 137 receptions for 2,493 yards, a school record 5,024 all-purpose yards, and 22 touchdowns. However, just as in high school, Brown's team achieved limited success, with a 25–21 record over his four seasons, and an 0–2 record in bowl games. In the year after Brown graduated (1988), Notre Dame won the national title.
Brown made the College Football All-America Team twice and won the 1987 Heisman Trophy, becoming the first wide receiver ever to win the award. As of 2010, Woodrow Wilson High School is still the only public high school with two Heisman Trophy winners, though private schools Mater Dei and Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia since have matched the record.
In 1989, Brown and O'Brien were inducted together into Woodrow Wilson High School's Hall of Fame when it was created in celebration of the school's 60th Anniversary.
In Januaury 2012 Tim received the Silver Anniversary Award in recognition of his myriad athletic and professional accomplishments from the NCAA.
Brown was selected by the Los Angeles Raiders with the 6th pick of the 1988 NFL Draft. In his first NFL season, he led the league in kickoff returns, return yards, and yards per return average. He also led the NFL in punt returns in 1994, and receptions in 1997. He was voted to the Pro Bowl nine times, in 1988 and 1991 as a kick returner, and in 1993-97, 1999 and 2001 as a receiver. In 2001, Brown would later play alongside another well-known wide receiver, Jerry Rice. On December 9, 2001, Brown returned a punt 88 yards for a touchdown in a home game against the Kansas City Chiefs, making him the oldest player in NFL history to score a touchdown on a punt return. In 2002 he passed Gene Upshaw to become the Raiders' all-time leader in games played with 224. He also set Raiders franchise records for receptions, receiving yards, and punt return yards.
Brown was released by the Raiders before the 2004 season, as he did not want to accept a smaller role in the offense. He was signed shortly thereafter by the Buccaneers (coached by former Raider head coach Jon Gruden). The move was controversial, considering that Brown had always been a fan favorite in the Oakland area and was much admired by many current and former Raiders players and staff over the sixteen years he spent with the Raider organization. He was the last of the Los Angeles Raiders to remain with Oakland.
On September 27, 2004, in his first game at Oakland since being signed by Tampa Bay, Brown reached 100 career receiving touchdowns, tying him (with Steve Largent) for 3rd on the NFL's all-time career receiving touchdown list (behind former teammate Jerry Rice  and Cris Carter ).
In 2005, Brown signed a one-day contract with the Raiders to retire with the team. The July 18 news conference was attended by two Raiders officials and only one active Raider, wide receiver Jerry Porter. Brown retired with 14,934 receiving yards, the second-highest total in NFL history, 1,094 receptions (3rd), and 100 touchdown catches (3rd-Tied). Brown also gained 190 rushing yards, 3,320 punt-return yards, 3 fumble-return yards, and 1,235 yards returning kickoffs. This gave him a total of 19,682 combined net yards, ranking him #5 among the NFL's all-time leaders at the time of his retirement. He also scored 105 total touchdowns (100 receiving, 1 rushing, 3 punt returns, 1 kickoff return).
Brown became eligible for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010. He was, however, not selected. Brown was considered a long shot to get in on his first try as there were a logjam of accomplished receiver candidates such as Jerry Rice (Brown's former teammate), Cris Carter and Andre Reed. In 2010, Brown was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Tim Brown at an autograph signing in 2004.
On Jan. 7, 2012 Tim Brown was selected as a finalist for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Post NFL career
Brown was in the movie Little Giants, and is co-host on FSN Pro Football Preview with former players Jason Sehorn, Eddie George and NFL Insider Jay Glazer. Brown is also a representative for YorHealth.
In 1995, Brown became the National Chairman of Athletes & Entertainers for Kids and the related 9-1-1 for Kids. These efforts have helped over five million children and teens through mentoring and educational programs.
Brown is currently starting a NASCAR racing team as part of their Drive for Diversity program. He is recruiting African American sponsors to fund the venture, and has worked out a technical alliance with Roush Fenway Racing, who will provide support to the upstart team. Brown hopes to eventually find a black, Hispanic, or woman driver to be the star of his team in order to bring an element of diversity to what is a white-dominated sport. He now lives in DeSoto, Texas.
Relationship with Raiders owner Al Davis
Since he joined the Raiders, Brown has had a complicated relationship with the Oakland Raiders and Al Davis. During a 2009 interview with Sportsradiointerview.com Brown commented on his former boss:
Meeting Al (Davis) was pretty unique. I found out five or ten minutes after my first practice there that he hated African-American athletes from Notre Dame. And they literally told me that. They literally told me that because we re known for using our education more than our athletic ability that he thought that I would be one of these guys that would basically take the money and run. I don t know if that was a ploy to get me amped up, but it certainly worked."
In 2010, Brown was dining in an Oakland restaurant with former Raiders Chester McGlockton and Sean Jones. During their meal, Brown found himself unable to approach or speak to Davis. Brown told a reporter, "I was saddened by that because I don't know anybody who I've dealt with for twelve years who I can't say hello to in that situation. I was saddened that the situation is where it is."
On August 5, 2004, the Raiders held a press conference with Brown and Davis which stated that Brown was leaving the Raiders. Davis and Brown professed mutual respect for one another and both men expressed a desire for Brown to return to the Raiders someday.
On July 19, 2005, Brown officially retired but the Raiders did not hold a press conference at the team headquarters. Instead, Brown held his own press conference in an Oakland hotel ballroom. Davis did not attend the conference because he had a "scheduling conflict". Davis did allow Brown to sign a ceremonial $765,000 contract with the Raiders so he could retire as an Oakland Raider. Brown's '04 departure from the Raiders eventually became acrimonious, and the outspoken receiver often criticized Davis, senior assistant Michael Lombardi and coach Norv Turner publicly for conspiring to make him expendable. Former teammates Marcus Allen, Lincoln Kennedy and Chester McGlockton attended the press conference. For the Raiders, Amy Trask, the Raiders' chief executive officer who had Brown sign the ceremonial contract, Marc Badain, a finance executive and Mike Taylor, the team's director of public relations, were on hand. At the time, Raiders receiver Jerry Porter was also in attendance. Lincoln Kennedy stuck up for the absence of Davis stating "It's not his style," the former Raiders offensive lineman replied. "He'll probably invite Tim up to his office, or out to dinner later on. But this? This is not his style."
Recent history suggested that Davis was possibly be out of touch with the football world prior to his death in 2011 because the Raider have suffered through seven straight losing seasons (2003 2009) since losing to Tampa Bay in Super Bowl XXXVII. Brown disagreed, stating "In a lot of peoples minds, Al is out of touch, but nothing is further from the truth. He is still quite lucid."
- First wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy
- NFL rookie-season record for most combined yards gained, with 2,317 (1988).
- NFL record 10 consecutive seasons with at least 75 receptions
- NFL record for consecutive seasons with at least 5 touchdowns scored (11) - shared with Marvin Harrison, Don Hutson, Cris Carter, Terrell Owens, & Jerry Rice
- NFL record for consecutive seasons with at least 5 touchdown receptions (11) - shared with Marvin Harrison, Don Hutson, Cris Carter, Terrell Owens, & Jerry Rice
- NFL record for being the oldest player ever to score a touchdown on special teams - (35 years, 140 days) 85 yard punt return
- NFL record for most consecutive games with more than one reception (147 games, 1993 2002)
- NFL record for being the oldest player with 12+ receptions in a single game - (36 years, 97 days): 10/27/02 @ KC Chiefs, 13 receptions, 144 receiving yards
- NFL record for consecutive starts by a wide receiver: 176
- Only player to have 1,600 receiving yards against four different teams (Broncos, Chiefs, Chargers, Seahawks)
- Holds the following team records with the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders:
- Games (240) and seasons (16) played
- Receiving (14,734 yards, 1,070 receptions, 99 touchdowns)
- Punt return (3,272 punt-return yards, 320 punt returns, 3 punt returns for touchdowns)
- All-purpose yards (19,431)
- Yards from scrimmage (14,924)
Notes and references