Finally, former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown is deservedly among the Hall of Fame inductees. For Pride and Poise, no Raiders player past or present can top what #81 brought to the organization both on and off the field. A family man, a lover of God and a representative of the best that the silver & black has to offer.
In 2005, the year I started this blog, I posted what was just my fifth post, an article about Tim Brown written by Oakland Tribune columnist Monte Poole. I repost it here, some 1,800 or so posts later, because what was said then about Tim is still relevant today. The sign of a truly great person is when what people say about them stands the test of time.
In the article by Mr. Poole, Tim Brown is the shining silver knight that came along and helped change the perception of the Raiders as just a bunch of thugs, renegades and rabble-rousers. Sure, the silver & black continued to carry that dark Raiders Mystique, but Tim exuded a class and style that the media had no choice but to include in their depictions of the new Raiders.
So Thank You Tim Brown for lighting a candle where once only darkness shown.
Congratulations on your induction into the NFL Hall of Fame.
Brown helped Raiders grow up | From www.bayarea.com
By Monte Poole
THERE ARE NO snapshots of him in handcuffs in a squad car, no photos of him wearing a silly mask on the sideline, no tales of him walking a lion, holding a cobra or swinging a switchblade.
He did not drink, smoke, cuss or dive headlong into the nocturnal pursuits.
He didn't even wear shades indoors.
How on earth did Tim Brown manage to stay a Raider long enough to challenge Al Davis as the team's reigning icon?
Maybe it's because Brown was the mainstay, producing at a high level for a long time. Or because he spoke softly, thoughtfully and almost always with a purpose. Or because there was a dignity to his carriage.
In any case, it is profoundly appropriate that when Brown announces his retirement this month, he will do so as a Raider.
Not to be lost here, though, is the acknowledgment that Tim was a leader in the movement to get the Raiders to grow up.
The Raiders built a reputation during the 1960s and '70s by doing and saying things that create images. They partied as hard as they played. They were mean and nasty and they'd kick your butt all over the field, laughing at the sight of blood — theirs and yours.
Ted Hendricks and Tom Keating, on the field and off, were wild men. Gene Upshaw's nickname, Uppy, was in lights above a Jack London Square nightclub. Fred Biletnikoff waspart-owner of a bar-restaurant off Hegenberger Road. Ken Stabler prowled pubs from San Jose to Santa Rosa.
Dare we mention the treacherous exploits of John Matuszak and Warren Wells?
The Raiders were a motorcycle club in shoulder pads, defined by swagger, villainy, night life and an assortment of free spirits.
And along came Brown to slowly strip away this Animal House of ill repute.
The kid from Notre Dame wasn't alone; he had help from devout teammates like Steve Wisniewski and Jeff Hostetler. Of the three, though, Brown was the first to wear the uniform, donned it the longest and maintained the highest visibility.
Drafted on the first round in 1988, while the Raiders were in Los Angeles, Brown entered a place annexed from hell. The players openly disrespected first-year coach Mike , mocking him until Davis stepped in and replaced with Art Shell.
Brown, the polite and devout fellow from Notre Dame, observed the madness and took note. As he grew into his career, he presided over a locker room with its share of clowns — none of whom lasted very long.
By the time the Raiders returned to Oakland in 1995, they were barely recognizable. There was a distinct shortage of influential characters. They were a football team, nothing more, seeking respect in a new NFL.
Brown, by then 29 years old and a four-time participant in the Pro Bowl, was the epitome.
He was the team's primary spokesman, in baseball cap and uniform before practice and always — always — in a suit and tie after games. He generally was about as open and honest as good judgment would allow, whether offering an assessment of Davis or administering a
velvet-hammered lashing to the broad backside of wayward kicker Sebastian Janikowski.
Immaturity or inattention among his teammates was an affront to Tim's sensibilities.
Unless there was a specific inquiry, Brown made no more than veiled references to his Christianity. He's the guy who once reminded former teammate Napoleon Kaufman that it's fine to read the Bible, but he also had an obligation to study the playbook.
Don't get me wrong. Even if by established Raiders' standards Brown was downright saintly, he was not perfect.
Though he could twist cornerbacks into the turf with his footwork, he also could drop the easiest of passes. Like many stars, he could be transparently self-centered. He also could be sensitive to slights; we've had numerous discussions over some of the more critical content of my columns.
And though he deserves induction into the Hall of Fame, Brown never got his elusive championship ring.
Almost never, though, did Brown drop his core professionalism. Guys like Brown and Wisniewski made the Raiders a more palatable destination for dedicated pros like Lincoln Kennedy, Rich Gannon and Jerry Rice.
An old Raiders slogan refers to "pride and poise." No Raider ever symbolized these virtues to a greater degree than Brown.
He was not, however, the Ultimate Raider. He was his own man, conceivably the first and most enduring of the great anti-Raiders.