Tim Brown Enshrinement speech
All right, all right, all right. All right, Raider Nation. I know we may be outnumbered, but I need to hear "Raiders, Raiders, Raiders."
Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. That's what I'm talking about. Now, I know Jerome is coming up, and he's going to blow the house up, but I had to get that in.
Oh, boy. You know, I say to my kids every morning when I wake them up this is the day that the Lord has made and we shall rejoice and be glad in it, and certainly this is a joyous occasion. You know, this is an honor you just can't even think about. You play great football, but you don't ever look at yourself as somebody who could be in the Hall of Fame.
So I'm going to enjoy this honor, but on Monday, 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.
Now, I'm not a preacher, but I have preacher tendencies. So there are some things that I may want to say, but I'm not going to say them. It may be a good time for you guys to say things like, won't he do it? Or look at God or something. But I'm not going to say it because I don't want to start preaching up here. But just hang in here with me and let's see how this happens.
When I first had the opportunity to put on this gold jacket I didn't know who the maker of the jacket was, and when I saw that name is almost brought me to tears, simply because this man has been an incredible part of my life for the last 31, 32 years before he passed away a couple of years ago. The name that's on the inside of this jacket is Haggar, and his family is here tonight. Lydia Novakov, his daughter is here, Dan Novakov, his son in law is here, Daniel and Isabel. This family has been an incredible, incredible positive force in my life, and I just wanted to say thank you guys for all that you've done, and you guys know that I love you.
The power of positive people. It's amazing when you have positive people in your life what can happen. For me growing up having my mom and dad and my family be the family that they were to me, always treated me like Timmy and not Tim Brown.
Now, I don't want to start talking about what my big sister did to me, because they may still be able to prosecute her for some of that stuff, but it made me into the man that I am today. My story may be implausible to some, it may be improbable simply because things happened in my life that without those things happening at that exact time this wouldn't have happened.
When I was 6 months old I had a little accident, ended up getting infected and ended up going to the hospital, and they were talking about doing a tracheotomy on me and really doing some serious surgery. My mom, my grandfather, and my uncle, they prayed. The doctor gave me medicine, two hours later I was doing fine. And my mom said from that day on that she thought that God had something special for me. I don't know if she thought it was this special, but she knew that God had something special for me.
I started playing this great game on the playgrounds of mount Auburn Elementary in Dallas, Texas, and I went on to continue playing at J.L. Long Buccaneers. I started with the Buccaneers and I ended with the Buccaneers. But really where I learned how to play this game was on the streets of Culver.
Now, if you can imagine this, there is a concrete street and there are two sides and on each side there was a patch of grass. So we used to call it throw up football. You throw the ball up, whoever gets it, you get to run. Well, if you got on the sideline though, you got tackled.
So thinking that you can grab a ball and run down the sideline and tackle the guy and land on the grass was not the smartest thing in the world, and it is the reason why I have all of these scars and all this happened way before I got into playing real football. But it's because I learned how to juke and dodge guys and stay away from sidelines.
I knew I had great ability and had the ability to make people miss, but we were losing football games. So I said to myself, all this talent must not be that good because we'd be winning football games. When I got to Woodrow Wilson High School, it seemed as if where my Wildcats at? Where you at, Wildcats? All right.
When I got to Woodrow, it seemed like I got faster and the moves got better, but the losing increased. And my three years on varsity I was 4-25-1, and I'm very proud of that 1, because we worked very hard for that 1. The only team we beat every year was Skyline who was our rival team. And this is where the story starts to become a little improbable. We were playing Skyline my junior year, and the University of Notre Dame came to recruit one of Skyline's players. They didn't know anything about me.
On that particular night, I had a kickoff return for a touchdown. I had a punt return for a touchdown. I had a long pass for a touchdown, and I had a long run for a touchdown. Now that was a great night. Now, if Notre Dame would have come the week before, I scored one touchdown. If they would have come the week afterwards, I didn't score at all. That's what I'm talking about. That's what I need. A little insert right there.
In 27 years of playing football, the only time I played and I scored four touchdowns was when Notre Dame came to recruit somebody else. That's a good time to say, but God, oh, won't he do it?
After I got a letter from ND, the letters started to pour in. And we did something that's pretty unusual. We chose the University of Notre Dame not because we thought that we could win a championship but because we thought it could give me a great education, and that decision was the toughest decision I've ever made in my life.
I was a mama's boy. I wanted to stay in Texas and play football. A lot of things were going on in Texas at that time. But my big brother, Don, he knew a lot about Notre Dame football, knew about the educational background, and we made the tough decision to go to the University of Notre Dame. And when I got there, I wanted to prove to everybody that it was about education. So my very first game yeah, my Notre Dame people are laughing my very first game in the Notre Dame uniform my freshman year, the opening play of the game I fumbled the opening kickoff.
So I told everybody, hey, I told you I was coming here for education, so, I mean, let's just keep moving on. Through my sophomore year, things were going okay. I was playing a little bit. I was on time to graduate which was the most important thing, and life was just moving on. I didn't know. I thought this is how big time college football went. This is how it happens. This is the way. You don't play that much, you play a little bit, and you just keep moving on.
Well, the coaching staff was fired after that year and in comes this little 5'8" guy wearing glasses, talks a little funny. He put us through winter ball workouts at 5 o'clock in the morning because we all had five 8 a.m. classes, I would say that to one of my guys. But I'm a rookie, so I can't say anything to these guys yet.
After two days of being in spring ball, once we got in pads he pulled me over and asked me a litany of questions as far as why wasn't I playing more? Did I get in trouble? Was it grades? Was I on drugs? He was asking me all kinds of questions. I said, no, Coach, they just didn't play me. He told me that he thought I could be the best player in the country. I thought this guy lost his mind. I said, you've been watching my film, or whose film have you been watching?
Day after day, he would bring me in his office and show me what I was doing on the practice field, show me what I was doing against defenses and doing things that he hadn't asked me to do. Finally, he said that he told the media that I was the most intelligent football player that he had ever coached.
So all the media flocked in from all the country, and they're trying to figure out who this new transfer is, because they knew I wasn't there before. They thought I had transferred in or something. Once they figured out it was me, they were like Tim, what happened? I said, I don't know. He just said it. I'm just doing it.
After a couple of weeks, is he here? I was hoping he was here. After a couple of weeks, I started to get it, and I really felt bad, because I felt as if he there he is. I felt as if he had more confidence in me than I had in myself. He believed in me more than I believed in myself. So we get into the season of my junior year, and it goes great for me, and now I'm following him around like a little puppy dog trying to figure out if he has something else for me to do. My senior year goes great and I end up winning the Heisman Trophy. I can tell you without the great Lou Holtz, I would not have won the Heisman Trophy. I would not have been a first round pick in the NFL. I probably would have gotten drafted, but I would have just been a guy. The things that he instilled in me made me a better man. Coach Holtz, I love you, just want to say thank you, and God knows whatever I can do for you, you know I'm there for you.
I was drafted by the L.A. Raiders. Mr. Ron Wolf actually drafted me into the NFL. I don't know what my agent Marvin Demoff did to get me to the Raiders. I heard stories like, he told the teams in between that I had an aunt that died in the city or something, and I would have all these flashbacks if I had to come play there.
But some kind of way he got me to the Raiders because that was the team that we figured I could excel in, or I could excel at. Once I got there I realized that this game was a little different. I had the great James Lofton there as a wide receiver at the time, and my first and Mike Haynes was there also, which was not fun at all going up against him. My last year at Notre Dame I was in the wishbone most of the time. So I was used to wearing very big pads.
So I came out to practice the first day and had I had all these pads on. And these things are huge. They're like Earl Campbell like huge. And everybody's looking at me laughing like, dude, what are you doing? I said, man, this is how I get down. This is how I play the game. And James Lofton pulled me over and said this is not going to work, rookie. You've got to go back in and change. And I listened to him and things went well.
I had a great rookie year. Broke a lot of records, all that kind of stuff, but the most important thing to me, people were saying because of the Heisman jinx and all that, that maybe I couldn't get it done on that level. The very first time I touched the ball in the NFL, I returned the kick 97 yards for a touchdown, so that was probably the best thing that could happen because all the critics went away, and now it was just a matter of going out and playing football and having a great time.
But it's my second year and I was thrown a wrinkle. I got hurt the opening game of the year returning the kickoff, and at this particular point because of the injury that I had to my knee the doctors literally told me we don't know if we can get you walking straight, so playing football may be something that's not in the plans for you anymore. And I was shocked by that, but I worked extremely hard to get back. I knew if I kept working that maybe I couldn't be a guy that was 4.3 anymore and had all these great moves, but at the same time I felt I could play the game and be helpful to a football team.
I believe that ends up being the best thing that could have ever happened to me in my career. I would end up leading the Raiders in receiving because James got hurt and a couple other receivers got hurt, and I end up leading the team in receptions. I was trying to return punts, kicks and be a receiver, and that's how I was starting out that year.
But by that injury happening, all of a sudden that was all taken away from me. It was taken away from me to the point where Al Davis came to me and said you're going to be the best third-down receiver, punt returner to ever play the game. And I was like third-down receiver, punt returner, there's a couple downs in missing in that.
But that's what he meant. When he said it, he meant it. And for the next two years I never played on first and second down. I only played on third down. I think I caught 18 passes one year, 36 passes the next year. In '92, Mervyn Fernandez gets hurt in the middle of the season and I ended up having to take over for him, and played well and the rest is history as they say.
The next five years for me went pretty good, but really the reason why I'm here now and standing on the precipice of going into the NFL Hall of Fame is because of another coach, the Silver and Black like to call him “Chuckie.” I call him “Grudoll.” When Jon came into the Raiders I was going into my 11th year, and the four years I had with him were just incredible years. Not just because of the numbers, but because of the games we were playing in and the importance of the games. So he put me out there in a totally different on a totally different level. So Jon, I know you were supposed to be here. I hope you're here, man. God bless you. I love you, man, and thank you for everything that you've done.
My football story is pretty unique. I played 27 years and I only had one shot at the championship, but I'm thankful and grateful that I did have that shot. When you get 34, 35, 36 in the league, you stop saying you want to win a championship, and start saying, Lord, let me play in a championship game. And I did have that opportunity. It wasn't an experience I was looking for, but at the same time I'm certainly glad that I had that experience.
Leaving the Raiders was tough. My last year I ended up playing in Tampa, and I want to thank Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen again for giving me a soft place to land, because we know as players when you get cut and have to leave and go home, it's a difficult thing. But thankfully Gruden was down in Tampa, and a whole bunch of Raiders, that's why they call Tampa "The Raiders of the East Coast," so I had an easy place to go and walk out of this game.
Again, my football career is great, but this would not have happened without so many people. And some of my high school teammates and friends are here. I want to thank those guys for everything they've done. Some of the great coaches I've had. Tom Clark used to pick me up when I was 12, 13 years old in the summer and make me work out and do all those things. Richard Mason, my high school coach who unfortunately passed away a couple months ago.
The great Leon Hamilton, Coach Ham, I know you're here. If you're here, stand up so the people around you can know who you are. There he is right there. Coach Hamilton was that coach that kept me motivated. When we were losing all those games in high school, he would always come and be in my ear and tell me, keep playing, just keep playing, just keep doing what you can do. Coach, I really appreciate that.
The great Gerry Faust. Coach, I don't know if you're here, but, Gerry some kind of way convinced my mom to let me go 1200 miles away to the University of Notre Dame to play football there. But she had one question for him when I walked out and that was, was he going to try to convert me over to Catholicism, because she wasn't going for that.
The great Ron Wolf again, thank you so much.
Mike Shanahan who was my rookie coach. Thank you, guys. Terry Robiskie who kept me sane in some of those early years with the Raiders.
Nick Nicolau, who was my first receiver coach for one year. Nick used to tell me things unfortunately, Nick passed away a couple months ago also. He would tell me things like great players allow their fans to remember their great plays. The great players remember the plays that they didn't make, and that was something that stuck with me my whole career.
Jim (Indiscernible), Ray Perkins, the offensive coordinators that I had, and of course the great Fred Bilentikoff, who, for 15 years I had friends that coached. He stepped away for a year and a half because of a situation he was dealing with. But Freddy was a great coach to have. When you have a Hall of Fame of coach but I have to tell you guys this story. I wasn't going to tell it, but now I'm going to tell it.
So I didn't know anything about Fred Biletnikoff, but I knew he was a great player and all that. So the first practice that we have I ran the wrong route, dropped the ball or something, and Fred must have cursed me like no man has ever cursed me before. So I practiced the rest of the day with a little tear in my eye. I went to practice and said, Freddy, we're not going to make it like that. I need you to talk to me a little differently.
So we worked that thing out after 15 years. Had an incredible relationship. His lovely wife Angela is here, and Indiscernible), their daughter. Thank you, Freddy. I love you, man.
Mike Wilson, who took over for Fred for a year and a half or so, Mike, I know you're here. God bless you, brother, and thank you so much for what you did.
I started my career with a Shanahan with Mike Shanahan and ended my career in Tampa with Kyle Shanahan being the backup coach to Richard Mann down in Tampa Bay. So thank you guys for all you did.
Now I don't know if there's ever been a wide receiver to make it into the Hall of Fame who's had 20 quarterbacks in their time. I caught the ball for 19 of these guys, and I'll let you figure out which one I didn't catch the ball for. Here they are: Steve Beuerlein, Jay Schroeder, Todd Marinovich, Vince Evans, Jeff Hostetler, Billy Joe Hobert, David Klingler, Jeff George, Donald Hollas, Wade Wilson, Rich Gannon, thank you for number 1,000, I love you, brother. Bobby Hoying, Rick Mirer, Marques Tuiasosopo, Rodney Peete, Rob Johnson, Brian Griese, Brad Johnson, caught my 100th touchdown from him, thank you very much, and Chris Simms. So that's the list, guys.
You know, it's not often that, again, I started off talking about the power of positive people. This next guy that I want to talk about real quick is a good friend of mine. I've known him since I was 12 or 13. And he's been by my side from day one and that's my good friend Marcus (Indiscernible). I mean, Marcus, I can remember we were playing. We had just lost the AFC Championship game to the Baltimore Ravens at home, and when I came out of the locker room I was booing too, so you all can boo when I came out the locker room I just didn't know what to say. People were talking to me. I didn't know what to say. Someone asked me if I was all right. And I couldn't answer the question.
He looked at the guy and said, yes, he's all right. He's all right. And I was like, I guess I'm all right then because Marcus said I'm all right. But Marcus has been an incredible Godly man, incredible Godly friend, I love you, brother, and thank you for everything.
Where are my brothers from Notre Dame? Where are you? Stand up, boys. Stand up. My brothers of Notre Dame. We call ourselves bond, B.O.N.D, Brothers of Notre Dame. Thank you, guys. I love you guys, man. Lifetime friendship. Fighting Irish fans are you here? Any Fighting Irish fans here? There we go. I thank you guys, your support has been incredible for me over the years and I appreciate that. I'm almost done, guys. All the short speeches are over with, by the way, if you guys haven't figured that out.
So I want to talk about a couple players really quick that really helped me out. I mentioned James Lofton earlier, literally, James Lofton taught me how to be a receiver. Coming in the way I came in in the NFL I needed someone like that, and for this guy to literally take me under his arm and teach me how to play this game was incredible. We also had Merv Fernandez who was an incredible pass catcher, Willie Gault, Jesse Hester, all these guys were incredible players for me. During this nine year run or ten year run where I went over 1,000 yards, the guy I had on the other side that whole time was James Jett. So James Jett, I want to say thank you, brother, and love you.
I said James taught me how to play the receiver position, but this next guy taught me how to play the game. And it's really, really tough for me to publicly give this guy credit because he went to that crazy school out in Southern California out there. But the fact of the matter is Marcus Allen is one of the guys that I admire most in this game, and to watch him do what he did, and what he had to go through throughout the five years that I was with the Raiders with him, and how he kept being the team leader and the inspirational leader of the team. No matter if he was playing on third down, fourth down or not playing at all, running, playing fullback for Bo Jackson or Roger Craig whatever, he did whatever it took. When he left, I wanted to embody what he did. And Marcus, I just want to say thank you, brother, I love you so much. Appreciate you.
My cousins, Chris, Allen, Keith, Robert, love you guys, man. Them L.A. days were very sweet.
My brother, this man has been a lot for me. No doubt about it. He taught me how to play the game. He was the one who took me out and taught me how to catch the ball. I used to call them torture sessions, not teaching sessions, but for him he was doing what he had to do to get me ready. His passion for the game became my passion for the game. Brother, I love you, and thank you so much for everything.
My sisters, Joyce, Ann, and Gwen and Kathy, you guys kept me humble. You kept me being the man that you guys wanted me to be, and I just want to say thank you, guys, and I love you guys so much.
To my kids, Taylor, Timon, Tamar, and Timothy, I am incredibly proud to know that this legacy will be here for your kids and your kids' kids. But I hope and pray that at the end of my days the legacy you remember most is the Godly legacy your dad is trying to lead for you.
All right. This is the tough part. You know, for 19 years I believe I had an angel, and that's pretty unique because this guy was 6'5", 350 pounds, but Chester McGlockton to me was an incredible friend, and we lost him back in 2011. But I'm very thankful to Howie, because the first time I interacted with Chester I was a player rep, Chester was a rookie, and I told, Chester, hey, you need to come to this meeting, and he said, nope. I'm not coming to the meeting. And I said to him you can't be ignorant to what's going on in the league. You need to find out what's happening. And all he heard was you ignorant. And before I knew it big boy was in my face, and thankfully Howie was there and grabbed him, and sort of saved me and gave me a chance to rescue me. Chester knew my wife before I did and tried to introduce me to her, and I didn't I would say, “Chester, man, come on. That's not how we play. We don't play that game.”
But he knew we should have been a couple way before we were a couple. When I finally met her which was at his wedding, he had us sitting together. I said to him, man, who is that girl? He said, Boy, that's the girl I've been trying to get you to go out with for two years. But I wasn't ready for Sherice at that particular time. I was just going through the change of trying to be a Godly man and trying to be the man that God wanted me to be, and if I would have met her two years prior I probably would have messed it up.
But I'm so glad that that he had the wisdom of us being a couple way before we got together. Sherice, I love you baby. I'm really thankful that Chester did what he had to do to get us together.
You know, when you marry an athlete who is 30 years old, there is good news, bad news. The good news is all the foolishness should be gone. The bad news is you usually marry somebody who is very set in his ways and wants to do things his own way, and I just really appreciate how you came in, baby, and let me play the next eight years and do some incredible things. You know I love you. God bless you, baby.
To my incredible mother. She's had more TV time than me this year, but that's okay. I don't think it could have happened to a nicer person. What do you say about somebody who has done everything that they can possibly do to make you the man that you want to be, and certainly makes sure that you're the Godly man that you want to be. Her wisdom, the Godly example that she's shown has been absolutely incredible. And I just want you to know, mom, that I love you so much. I have to tell you guys this story because this, I believe, changed my life. I win the Heisman Trophy, and I play my rookie year and make the Pro Bowl. I come home and there is a big banner outside that says welcome home Heisman Trophy winner, Tim Brown. Heisman Trophy winner, Pro Bowler Tim Brown.
And she said, “hey, you see the sign? I said, yeah. She said you know why the sign is outside? I said, no. She said because all this is going to stay outside my house, and when you come inside my house, you're not going to be this person. You're going to be Timmy. And for the rest of my career that's who I was. I was Timmy.” I'm trying to wrap it up, guys. One more person and then I'm going to be gone.
I had something I believe was miraculous happen to me just today. I lost my dad back in 2011, and I was over at the autograph signing today and I was signing, and this kid came out of nowhere. He wasn't in line, he just came from the side and he handed me a picture. And when I flipped it over it was a picture of me, my mom and my dad at the Heisman Trophy ceremony. It was a picture I had never seen before.
To me, that was just a sign to let me know that my dad was here with me tonight. So for all you all waiting for me to cry. I already got my cry out. I had me a couple minutes in the room. It was an incredible moment. My dad was an incredible man. The consistency, the hard work and the discipline that everybody talks about with me, I got it from him. Dad, you know I love you, and thank you so much. God bless you guys. Thank you very much.