After being eligible for induction to the Hall of Fame for several years, Tim Brown will finally be inducted this Saturday night. I for one am thrilled to see this as I think it is very well deserved. Brown was drafted by the Raiders in 1988 with the sixth overall pick. This came as no surprise to me since Al Davis likes to draft Heisman Trophy winners. Used primarily as a kick and punt returner in his rookie year, he led the league in return yards and was voted to his first of nine Pro Bowls.
He also caught 43 passes for 725 yards and five touchdowns. Things were looking very promising. However, a knee injury early in 1989 sidelined him for the season. He came back in 1990 and did not have a very productive year. He was relieved of kick return duties and was used primarily as a punt returner. He averaged 8.7 yards per return and caught 18 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns.
In 1991, his receiving stats improved and he hauled in 36 passes for 554 yards and five touchdowns. He also had another solid year as a punt returner and averaged 11.4 yards per return. In 1992, his receiving stats improved yet again and he caught 49 passes for 693 yards and seven touchdowns. While the receptions increased, he was still excelling as a punt returner and averaged 10.4 yards per return.
In 1993, Jeff Hostetler became the quarterback and Brown’s receiving numbers skyrocketed. He caught 80 passes for 1,180 yards and seven touchdowns. This trend continued for the next 11 years. From 1993- 2003, Brown caught 923 passes for 12,489 yards and 79 touchdowns. His last year as a full time punt returner was 1996. From 1988-1996, Brown returned 311 punts for 2,753 yards and two touchdowns.
What amazed me about Brown was for most of his career, he was the go to guy. He was the number one receiver and opposing defenses knew he was going to get the ball and they still couldn’t stop him. Top that off with numerous coaching and quarterback changes. In his 16-year career with the Raiders, Brown had six different head coaches and caught touchdown passes from 11 different quarterbacks. Imagine what he could have done if he had an elite quarterback throwing him the ball? I think that thought crossed his mind in 1994. That year, he signed an offer sheet with the Denver Broncos and was looking forward to playing with John Elway. However, the Raiders matched the offer and Brown remained a Raider.
His final year in silver and black was 2003. After that, he went to Tampa Bay and was reunited with former Raider coach Jon Gruden. In 15 games, he caught 24 passes for 200 yards and one touchdown. That one touchdown was a big one. It was his 100th career receiving touchdown and it occurred in Oakland against his former team.
The following is what Tim Brown accomplished in his career:
He was the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy.
He holds the record for most combined yards gained by a rookie (2,317 yards in 1988).
At least 75 receptions for 10 consecutive years (1993-2002)
Record for being the oldest player to score a touchdown on special teams (35 years, 140 days) 85-yard punt return against the Chiefs.
Record for most consecutive games with more than one reception (147 games, 1993-2002).
Record for oldest player with 12+ receptions in a game (36 years, 97 days).
Record for most consecutive starts by a receiver (176)
He is also the all time leader for the Raiders in games played (240)
Receiving touchdowns (99)
Receiving yards (14,374)
Punt returns (320)
Punt return yardage (3,272)
All-purpose yards (19,431)
Yards from scrimmage (14,024)
I enjoyed watching Tim Brown play and I am very excited to hear what he has to say on Saturday night. He’s now in the company of great Raiders like Al Davis, John Madden, Jim Otto, George Blanda, Art Shell, Gene Upshaw, Fred Biletnikoff, Ted Hendricks, Mike Haynes, Marcus Allen, Howie Long, Dave Casper and Ray Guy.