Tim Brown was of my favorite speakers of all time at the Little Rock Touchdown Club!

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Tim Brown was of my favorite speakers of all time at the Little Rock Touchdown Club.

Hall of Fame wide receiver Tim Brown (left) said despite winning the Heisman Trophy at Notre Dame and going to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, his mother always stressed a strong family environment and made sure he understood his priorities.

Hall of Fame wide receiver Tim Brown (left) said despite winning the Heisman Trophy at Notre Dame and going to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, his mother always stressed a strong family environment and made sure he understood his priorities.

Tim Brown’s pro football career started by returning a kickoff for a touchdown and ended with a 17-year journey that led to his recent induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

But thanks to a strong family environment, Brown never lost sight of what was really important.

Speaking to the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Thursday afternoon, Brown, 49, recalled that his early success in the NFL was of little value inside his parents’ home in Dallas.

Arriving home after the 1988 season, a banner outside the Browns’ home read “Welcome Home Heisman Trophy Winner and Pro Bowler Tim Brown.”

“I got out the car and everybody was outside greeting me and welcoming me back home,” Brown said. “My mom told me that she was proud of me and how much she loved me.”

Josephine Brown, however, wanted her son to know that despite his success, he would not be getting any special treatment.

“Mom hugged me and said, ‘Do you see the banner?’ “I said ‘yes, of course.’ And she said, ‘Do you know why it’s on the outside? It’s because all of the hype belonged outside the house.’

“The next thing I know, Timmy’s being told to take out the trash.”

Brown enjoyed a stellar career at both Notre Dame and in the NFL. He won the Heisman Trophy in 1987, becoming the first wide receiver to do so. When Brown left in 1988, he held 19 individual school records. He finished his college career with 137 receptions for 2,493 yards, a school record 5,024 all-purpose yards, and 22 touchdowns.

Brown was selected by the Los Angeles Raiders with the sixth pick of the 1988 NFL Draft. In his first NFL season, he led the league in kickoff returns, return yards and yards per return average.

In his first professional game and the first time he touched the ball, Brown scored on a 97-yard kickoff return in the second quarter against the San Diego Chargers. It also was his only kickoff return for a touchdown in his NFL career.

It took longer for Brown to become an accomplished wide receiver. Brown caught 147 passes in his first five years in the NFL, but from 1993 to 2001, he racked up nine consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. He finished his NFL career with 1,094 receptions for 14,934 yards, scoring 105 touchdowns.

Brown touched on a variety of subjects during Thursday’s speech. He talked about his respect for former Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz, who he said convinced the wide receiver he could be the best player in the country.

Brown talked fondly of the late Chester McGlockton, a teammate and defensive tackle who introduced Brown to his wife, Sherice. Brown also lamented that he did not have a better relationship with Al Davis, the Raiders’ late owner.

“He was a hard man to get to know,” Brown said. “He loved the sixth-round draft picks and free agents, but if you were one of the team’s better players, he was hard to get along with.”

Brown also talked about how his mother refused to watch him play. Brown said she did not come to any of his games until he caught his 1,000th pass in the NFL. It was the only game in his 27 years of playing that she would attend.

Brown said his football career had an “improbable” beginning. During his three years of playing high school football in Dallas, Woodrow Wilson High School compiled a not-so-remarkable record of 4-25-1.

During his junior season, Notre Dame sent scouts to watch the team play one night.

“They weren’t there to see me,” Brown said.

Those scouts, however, got an eyeful. Brown scored four touchdowns that night, a 92-yard kickoff return, an 88-yard punt return, a 79-yard run and another on a 58-yard reception.

“If those scouts had seen me the week before, they would have seen me score one touchdown,” Brown said. “If they had come one week later, they wouldn’t have seen me score at all. That just shows you what divine intervention God had in store for me.”

Sports on 09/18/2015

Print Headline: Brown’s career path leads from Dallas to Canton

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