OAKLAND, Calif. (BVM) – When it comes to discussing the NFL’s best all-time wide receivers, Tim Brown can often get overlooked. However, the Notre Dame product had a legendary career with the Raiders that stacks up with just about any top wideout to ever play. Since his retirement, Brown has rightfully taken his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame while getting involved with numerous other endeavors outside of football.
Tim Brown’s early life and high school career
Born and raised in Dallas, Brown’s football career started later than most as he began playing in seventh grade, even despite his mom not wanting him to. At Woodrow Wilson High School, Brown’s main role as a freshman was as part of the school band. However, he would go on to play varsity football across his final three years of high school.
Meanwhile, Brown was also a tremendous track athlete at Woodrow Wilson, starring in both the 400-meter dash and long jump. Brown’s main talent was within football, however. Despite limited team success in high school as his squad went just 4-25-1 over his three years, the wide receiver shined individually and garnered interest from numerous Power 5 schools. Ultimately, Brown decided to head north to play for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Tim Brown’s Notre Dame career
Brown was a contributor early and often in his Fighting Irish career. Playing 11 games in each his freshman and sophomore seasons, Brown caught 28 passes in his first season in South Bend – a freshman program record – and 25 as a sophomore, racking up 737 receiving yards and five total touchdowns over the two years.
His breakout came in his junior season when Brown went for 910 receiving yards and five touchdowns, averaging over 20 yards per catch. He also became a rushing threat for the Fighting Irish, carrying the ball 59 times for 254 yards and two touchdowns.
Brown saw continued success with 990 total scrimmage yards during his senior season in 1987, adding four touchdowns. Also a kick and punt returner throughout his time at Notre Dame, Brown earned the nickname “Touchdown Timmy,” finishing his career in South Bend with 22 scores, 2,935 scrimmage yards and a school-record 5,024 all-purpose yards.
A two-time All-American, Brown became the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy award in 1987. He also was the second player from Woodrow Wilson High School to do so, following the footsteps of Davey O’Brien.
"I remember the first time I put on that Notre Dame uniform."
— The Fighting Irish (@FightingIrish) July 9, 2022
Tim Brown’s NFL career
With the No. 6 overall pick in the 1988 NFL Draft, Brown was selected by the then-Los Angeles Raiders. His first season in the NFL was a success, as he caught 43 passes for 725 yards and five touchdowns. However, his main mark was made as a returner, racking up over 1,000 kick-return yards as he earned the first of many career Pro Bowl selections.
After missing most of 1989 due to suffering a serious knee injury on a kickoff return in the season opener, Brown struggled to return to form in 1990. Yet, he reclaimed his Pro Bowl status in 1991, and put up similar numbers in his age-26 season in 1992.
However, it was the 1993 season where Brown first emerged into one of the NFL’s elite wide receivers. The Notre Dame product caught 80 passes that year, and would catch 76 or more passes each of the next nine seasons, including a league and career-high 104 in 1997. Brown also went for 1,180 receiving yards in 1993, beginning a stretch of nine consecutive 1,000-yard seasons with his career-high in that department also coming in 1997 with 1,410 yards – a year in which he also had five 150-plus receiving-yard games.
Brown made the Pro Bowl each season from 1993 to 1997, and again in 1999 and 2001. He scored a career-high 11 touchdowns in between that in 2000, and started in every game the Raiders played over his remarkable 10-year stretch from 1993 to 2002.
The wide receiver’s numbers would begin to decline during the ‘02 season, however, with just 930 yards and two touchdowns. Still, he helped the Raiders to their first Super Bowl appearance in over two decades, a game they would lose to Brown’s former coach, Jon Gruden, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In 2003, Brown still saw ample playing time, but caught just 52 passes for 567 yards and two touchdowns in what would be his final season as an Oakland Raider. Following his release from the Raiders during the 2004 offseason, the legendary receiver would go on to play 15 games in his final NFL season as he reunited with Gruden in Tampa. But with just 200 yards and one touchdown on the year, the end was near.
In 2005, Brown signed a one-day contract to retire with the Raiders. His legendary NFL career concluded with 14,934 receiving yards and 1,094 catches, both of which rank seventh all-time in NFL history. He also finished with 100 receiving touchdowns, tied for the ninth-best mark in league history.
The nine-time Pro Bowl selection also added over 4,500 combined kick and punt return yards with an additional five special teams touchdowns during his NFL career. In addition, Brown finished his career as the Raiders’ all-time leader in total touchdowns (104), receiving touchdowns (99), receiving yards (14,734), receptions (1,070), yards from scrimmage (14,924), all-purpose yards (19,431), punt-return yards (3,372) and punt-return touchdowns (3), playing in 240 games across 16 seasons with the organization.
— NFL Legacy (@NFLLegacy) July 22, 2021
Tim Brown’s achievements
Shortly after joining the NFL, Brown, alongside O’Brien, was inducted into the Woodrow Wilson High School Hall of Fame’s inaugural class. Two decades later in 2009, Brown was officially inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. In 2012, the former Notre Dame receiver also received the NCAA’s Silver Anniversary Award, recognizing his tremendous football career.
After being named a finalist multiple times, Brown finally earned his way into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015. Brown is also a member of the NFL’s 1990s All-Decade team.
1987 Heisman Trophy Winner Tim Brown can now add NFL Hall of Fame to his long list of career accomplishments. pic.twitter.com/hHsYhu01F8
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 9, 2015
“You know, this is an honor you just can’t even think about,” Brown said during his Hall of Fame speech. “You play great football, but you don’t ever look at yourself as somebody who could be in the Hall of Fame … I’m going to really be able to enjoy this honor. It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been incredible work. I can’t wait to enjoy this for the rest of my life.”
Tim Brown’s personal life and net worth
Brown has been married to his wife, Sherice, for 25 years. The couple has four kids.
25 years ago, she said yes! Happy to say she said yes again!!
Happy 25th anniversary Sherice Brown! Let's do 25 more!! pic.twitter.com/gSx7VRnpqB
— Tim Brown (@81TimBrown) June 21, 2022
Tim Brown’s post-playing career
Throughout his playing career, Brown was involved with several endeavors outside of football, one being as national chairman for Athletes & Entertainers for Kids – a nonprofit aimed to assist disadvantaged children through guidance and mentoring. He has also been involved with the 9-1-1 for Kids program which teaches children what to do in emergency situations.
Since retirement, the Dallas native has stayed busy. For a while, Brown tried out a broadcasting career, working for four years with Fox Sports and another three years with ESPN. He also has had an in-season radio show on Sirius XM.
While he’s not in front of the camera anymore, Brown has gone behind the scenes to help produce a proposed documentary called “The Perfect 10,” which features the stories of the only 10 players to win a Heisman Trophy and be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Meanwhile, Brown has released a book, “The Making of a Man: How Men and Boys Honor God and Live With Integrity.” The 56-year-old also briefly dabbled into a tenure on the sidelines as he coached his son while he was in eighth grade at Canterbury Episcopal.
Additionally, Brown has served as CEO of Elite Team Holdings LLC where he has joined other football legends to create HtoH, which features a documentary-style special, a series of speakers and a foundation with a goal of providing relief and support to areas affected by natural disasters.
Brown has made brief cameos in the film “Little Giants” and the HBO series “Ballers,” as well.
In 2013, he became a general manager and co-owner for the Texas Revolution of the Champions Indoor Football League. Brown also started a NASCAR team as part of the organization’s Drive for Diversity program.
Of course, Brown has found time to do typical retirement activities such as golf. Over the last few years, he has competed alongside many other current and former athletes at the American Century Championship, as well as several other celebrity golf outings.
NFL Hall of Famer Tim Brown just got a hole in one on the iconic 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass during the @TimTebow Celebrity Golf Tournament! @FCN2go #TeamSideline @espn @tebowfoundation @PGATOUR @THEPLAYERSChamp pic.twitter.com/QnW9HnUGLK
— Heather Crawford (@HeatherFCN) March 27, 2021
Brown never strays far from his Raiders roots either, often chiming in on many trending topics within the organization. This past offseason, he had plenty of good things to say about the Raiders’ newest star wideout, Davante Adams.
@Raiders Alright Raider Nation! I just spoke with @tae15adams. Y'all are gonna love him! A little background: my wife and his dad's fiance were good friends in Oakland, I've been hearing about him since he started playing the game. Now i get to watch him demolish my records! Lol! pic.twitter.com/YNmG91cDOj
— Tim Brown (@81TimBrown) March 23, 2022
While Brown’s retirement has certainly been enjoyable, he also lived about as good of a football life as one can. Going from a legendary program at Notre Dame to a Hall of Fame NFL career with the Raiders, Brown’s legacy continues on, and he will always remain as one of the best receivers to ever play.