Tim Brown on reaching the Hall as Raider: "It's a big, big deal"

Talk of Fame Network

There aren’t many NFL players who spend 16 years with one team. But former wide receiver Tim Brown did. He spent his first 16 seasons with the Raiders before having a cup of coffee with Tampa Bay.

But his career was about more than longevity or staying in one place. It was about accomplishments, and Tim Brown’s accomplishments put him in the Hall of Fame – with Brown chosen on his six try as a finalist.

“It’s a big, big deal, it really is,” he told the Talk of Fame Network about making it as a Raider. “When I first got to the Raiders, a lot of people said I didn’t fit in with the Raiders’ organization. I was a good kid and clean cut and all that, and the Raiders weren’t known for that. But the one thing they were known for was playing good football.

“I always felt I could do what I needed to do for the Raiders on the football field, and, if I did that, then I was going to be a Raider. And that’s what I tried to do. I didn’t try to imitate them off the field. But I certainly tried to do that on the field. I think by playing great football I was quickly welcomed into the family. To add one more Raider to the notch (the Hall of Fame) … it’s a beautiful thing.”

After he was chosen to the Hall, Brown said his first telephone calls were to his mother and the two men most influential in his career – former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz and former Oakland and Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden.

“(With Holtz it was) everything he did for me at the University of Notre Dame,” he said. “Just getting me to see I could be a better player than I was; (that) if I worked harder and did the things he asked me to do got me to where I was.

“And Gruden … for him to step up and stand up for me when he did with some of the things that were going on at the time with the Raiders, to me, were brave. It was brave for him to do that. I’m very grateful to those two coaches and everything they did for me in my career.”

More than anything, of course, Brown is grateful the wait is over. He said he wasn’t angry or frustrated with the process as years passed, but he did admit to an unexpected emotion when late January arrived and his name wasn’t called.

“It really almost bordered on embarrassment,” he said. “You almost felt like you were embarrassed you weren’t getting in. I always felt ... because I have so many friends who are Hall of Famers and I’m around those guys so many times ... that I was almost becoming a pariah -- because they always felt as if they had to say, ‘Oh, well, Tim, you’re going to be in one day; everybody has to account for Tim.’ I just felt bad around these guys at times. So that part of it was tough. It was really tough to always be around Ronnie (Lott) and Marcus (Allen) and these guys and always having to deal with the situation in a negative way.

“In 2011, when the Super Bowl was here in Dallas I allowed myself to let people to tell me, ‘Oh, yeah, well, they were just waiting until you came home, Tim, they wanted to do this in Dallas in front of your home people.’ When I didn’t get the call that time I was so low I realized I had to approach this whole thing differently. And I think over the next three years I did. So when I walked away from it I was able to walk away from it with my head held high.”