By Mark Miller
The days of Tim Brown not being recognized in his hometown as much as elsewhere are done.
That’s what the Dallas native faces after being elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. After five previous years of eligibility, the 48-year-old Brown finally heard his name called Jan. 31 as part of Super Bowl weekend in Arizona.
“It was invigorating, a boost of energy,” he said. “I was coming into this year thinking I had my best chance of making it simply because Jerry (Rice) went in (2010), they didn’t do a receiver for a couple of years then did two in a row (Cris Carter and Andre Reed in 2013 and 2014, respectively) and I was hoping if they did another receiver it would be me.”
Brown talked about his election before a press conference Feb. 12 at Frisco Chrysler for the Texas Revolution indoor football team where he’s general manager and co-owner.
“I’m happy it worked the way it did and I want to try to make the best of it,” he added. “It’s been a long time since I was speechless, my knees buckled and all that kind of stuff. This was one of those moments. You realize you’re talking about immortality and it just happened for you.”
Making the hall of fame put the finishing touch on a pro playing career that spanned 17 years after becoming the first receiver to win the Heisman Trophy in 1987. It also followed his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009.
Drafted with the sixth pick of the 1988 draft, Brown spent his first 16 seasons with the Raiders (1988- 1994 in Los Angeles, 1995-2003 in Oakland) and retired after the 2004 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Overall, he caught 1,094 passes for 14,934 yards. He added nearly 5,000 more yards on punt and kickoff returns and scored 105 total touchdowns.
While he played college football at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana and professionally in California and Florida, Brown always returned to Texas between seasons. He made that permanent after retiring and moving into broadcasting and motivational speaking for the simple fact Dallas is home.
“It’s my comfort spot,” he said. “It’s always been a place where I could come and get away from football. Back when the Cowboys were winning championships nobody rooted against the Cowboys so I could walk around the city and do whatever I wanted to.
“The more my career went on the more I was recognized around the city but it was never to the point like in Southern California where I could barely walk anywhere without being recognized.
“This place has always been my refuge. My place where I could kick back and not have to be a superstar or whatever and could just be Timmy. That’s what I love about it.”
That’s how most people remember Brown before the fame. He didn’t start playing the sport until his sophomore year at Woodrow Wilson High School in East Dallas because his mother didn’t want him to participate. Though his team went 4-25-1 in three years as a starter, he was heavily recruited by colleges.
After his pro career, he co-hosted the Fox Sports Network Pro Football Review show with former NFL stars Jason Sehorn and Eddie George and NFL Insider Jay Glazer for three years. He spent the 2010 and 2011 seasons as an analyst for ESPN and today appears on weekly pro football and occasional college shows on the SiriusXM satellite radio network.
Quickly realizing he didn’t like the rigorous schedule of coaching, he jumped at the chance to work in the front office with the Revolution in 2013. Founded in 2000 as the Arkansas Twisters of the old Arena Football 2 League and later the Arkansas Diamonds of the Indoor Football League, the franchise moved to Texas in 2011 as the Allen Wranglers. An ownership change that included Brown made it the Revolution which opened its inaugural season in the Champions Indoor League on Feb. 27.
Brown has come to love his current job because it allows him to help develop young men in the game and in life. It also allows him time to be with wife Sherice and their four children ages 12 to 26. He hopes to use his overall experience to add front office work with the NFL.
“I played a lot of football in the NFL. I saw a lot of great players. I saw a lot of not-so-great players players. I think I have an eye for all that,” he said.
“We’re talking with the Raiders right now about possibly doing something so we’ll see what happens with that. It will not be anything full-time but enough to keep me close to the situation.”