Hall of Fame wide receiver Tim Brown talks next season's Raiders-Patriots game in Mexico City (0:53), the return of football to Los Angeles and why he wishes the Raiders beat out the Rams (2:17), the idea of the Las Vegas Raiders (4:35), cutting on the dirt at Oakland Coliseum (5:24), his lone Super Bowl (8:24), playing with Jerry Rice (9:31) and Notre Dame's "ugly" season (12:00). Bonus: Tim roasts Jeff for not knowing about King's Hawaiian rolls (13:50).
Tim Brown is Mr. Raider. The Hall of Fame wide receiver, who played in both Los Angeles and Oakland from 1988-2013, is the franchise leader in games, touchdowns and all-purpose yards, among other categories. But he is not married to the Raiders staying in Oakland. Las Vegas and San Diego have been mentioned as potential landing spots for the Raiders, and Brown could be sold on both of them. There is one main thing the Raiders need, he says, and right now, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is not providing it.
Brown joined ThePostGame Podcast at Super Bowl Radio Row in Houston last week to talk about the potential Las Vegas Raiders, what it was like to play with Jerry Rice and his relationship with Al Davis. Here are some highlights:
On the NFL in Los Angeles and the Raiders' potential move to Las Vegas:
ThePostGame: You started your career in LA, so seeing football come back to LA, what'd you think about this first year and how do you think the city will deal with two teams?
TIM BROWN: Well, I would have loved to have seen that team be the LA Raiders, not the Rams. That is what it is. The problem with LA is if you have an average team, then you're not gonna get anybody to come out to see you play. And now you've got two average teams there at this particular point, so I don't know how that's gonna happen. There's no way they can have two games in that city with those two teams. There will be nobody at those games, so in some kind of way, these teams gotta get better football going. Otherwise, it's gonna be difficult for them to tread and that's the thing that I've said all along. People want to go to LA, but you've got to understand you're fighting a whole bunch of stuff. The No. 1 thing you're fighting there is the beach. People wake up on Sunday morning and go, I can go and watch a 4-8 football team or I can go to the beach. Well, the beach wins a whole bunch of times.
TPG: You mention wanting the Raiders back in LA. Is that indicative of you enjoying your time in Los Angeles more than Oakland while with the Raiders?
BROWN: I wouldn't say more. I have a lot of family, close cousins who are in LA, so for me, the off-the-field stuff was the best it could be, my auntie's making dinner for me. It was just a perfect situation for me. Plus, LA, if you're playing good football yourself, it's not the worst place in the world to be because you've got a lot of things open to you. But for a team, I thought it was better for us to be in Oakland. I thought there were too many distractions in LA and that's why I was saying this year, with social media, and all the partying that goes on in LA, these kids are gonna be out every night. It makes it impossible to keep 53 guys on the same page. You may be able to keep 40, 45, but can you keep everybody on the same page and be able to go out and win games?
TPG: There is social life in Los Angeles. There's also quite a social life in Las Vegas, which may be where the Raiders go ...
BROWN: (Laughs) Maybe. Exactly.
TPG: Are you rooting for that or are you rooting for them to stay?
BROWN: I am rooting for them to get a stadium and I really don't care where it is, brother. And I'm not trying to elude your question. That's just how I feel about it because I just believe they're at a disadvantage when they're recruiting free agents. Every player wants to be able to show that beautiful stadium they're going to be playing in, well, not so much with the Raiders. They don't even take people to the stadium. I think that's a disadvantage. They're the only team playing on a baseball stadium for half the year. Those things shouldn't be in this particular point in the NFL.
TPG: Do you have any good stories of running through the dirt during a game?
BROWN: We were playing the New York Giants and I don't remember what year it was. It was really early in the game, like the first or second play of the game, I catch a slant route and I'm in the dirt and I tried to spin out and go out this way, and literally, I’m like that cartoon character. I finally get going and the guy ran me down everybody's looking at me like you got ran down. I'm like no it was the dirt. It was the dirt. Obviously you can use it to your advantage because you know where you're going and the DB doesn't, but getting tackled on that stuff was no fun because they actually put gravel in the dirt because they put all this water on it. What the gravel was for, I don't know, but it just made your arms cut up. Matter of fact, it is the reason I started wearing those little armbands because I didn't want to get my arms all cut up.
TPG: If you were a player and you were told, we're moving to Las Vegas. Would you be happy? Would you be excited? I don't know if players are thinking, wow there are a lot of distractions in Las Vegas?
BROWN: My initial concern with it was exactly that. How can you put 25-year-old rich guys in the middle of Las Vegas and say don't you touch that. Don't you touch that. It's not realistic to believe that would happen, but it's like they told me. Look, there are things in San Francisco that if they want to get into, they can go get into. You can't stop anybody from doing anything. They're supposed to be responsible and all that kind of stuff, so we'll see what happens, man. These guys, if they end up in Vegas, they're just going to have to be very cognizant of their surroundings.
TPG: Will you still feel connected to a team that's in Las Vegas, as opposed to Oakland or Los Angeles?
BROWN: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I said to you early on, I don't care where the stadium ends up being built, I just need to get in the stadium. If Oakland can't get it done, let's make it happen. I'm throwing out San Antonio again. San Antonio put a heck of an offer on the table. Let's go back and talk to them, see what they can spruce it up a little more, let's do something a little bigger and better. Raider Nation may be upset about this or that, but they will travel. One thing we know, they will travel. They'll be upset for a minute, especially if it's a good football team you can bet they'll travel and gonna make it happen. I think you just have to go with what you know if you're the Raiders' front office and try to make the best deal you can make and get in the city or stay there and get the thing done.
On playing with Jerry Rice for three seasons late in his career:
TPG: Jerry Rice was on that [Super Bowl XXXVII] team with you. How awesome was it for you at the end of both your careers to play together?
BROWN: The only regret we had was that we didn't do it earlier because there was no doubt in my mind we could have played 18 years together and never conflicted with each other's game. We're totally different receivers, love to do totally different things on the field. From that standpoint, it's a missed opportunity for both of us, not that we had a lot of choice because back in those days, you didn't have free agency and all that, but there was one chance that I may have had to go to San Francisco, but Al [Davis] killed it at the end. That would have been '91-'92. But it was great, man. Jerry was an incredible – and I say this – competitor because we competed all the time, on the field, off the field. If he ran a great route, I tried to run a greater route. It was a lot of fun having a guy like that who you could measure your game up against on a minute-to-minute basis.
TPG: Do you remember when he signed? Did he contact you? Or how'd you'd find out?
BROWN: The Raiders had contacted me and said they were looking to sign Jerry and just to make sure I was cool with it. I was like yeah, yes sir, today please. Jerry and I, I didn't speak to him immediately, but I did see an interview where he said I came here for one reason and that was to help Tim Brown win a Super Bowl. That's all I needed to hear. Jerry and I knew each other very well, so the rest was history.
On his relationship with the late Al Davis:
TPG: I know there's been so much written about your relationship with Al Davis. Before his passing, how did you guys leave your relationship?
BROWN: Look, not as good as I would as liked, not from a we-didn't-like-each-other standpoint, but just simply because there was really no relationship. I tried to speak to him at a game, and he told me to come back at halftime and I wasn't gonna be there at halftime and that was the last chance I had to speak to him. And that was a couple years before he passed away. Look, when he passed away, there was no player who played more games for him than me. If he thought anything about me, he knew that I gave everything I could possibly give to the Raiders.