Dec. 10, 2009
NEW YORK - On Tuesday night, former Notre Dame wideout and 1987 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown was among a group of college football luminaries presented for induction into the National Football Foundation (NFF) College Football Hall of Fame, as part of the NFF Awards Dinner that was held at the Grand Ballroom at the famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
Brown becomes the 43rd former Notre Dame player inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. The Irish have six former coaches in the Hall and the 49 total enshrines are the most of any NCAA institution, the most recent being Lou Holtz in 2008.
The first wide receiver to be awarded the Heisman Trophy, Brown became the seventh Notre Dame player to be heralded as the most outstanding player in the nation in 1987. He set 19 school records during his Irish career and earned the nickname "Touchdown Timmy."
Brown's head coach, Lou Holtz, called Brown the most intelligent football player he had ever been around and was later quoted as saying, "I can't imagine that there's anyone else who can have such a major effect on a football game in as many ways as Tim Brown can."
For his career, Brown averaged 116.8 all-purpose yards per game and totaled 22 touchdowns. He totaled a then-school record 2,493 receiving yards with 12 receiving TDs and averaged 18.2 yards per catch. Brown averaged 23.4 yards on 69 career kickoff returns with three returned for TDs and averaged 13.2 yards on 36 punt returns and three TDs.
The two-time All-American (1986, 1987-unanimous) set a single-season record with 1,937 all-purpose yards as a junior in 1986. As a senior, Brown ranked sixth nationally with 167.9 all-purpose yards per game and also was awarded the Walter Camp Award.
Brown led all Irish receivers as a sophomore in 1985 with 25 catches for 397 yards and three TDs and started 10 games. As a freshman, he set the freshman record with 28 receptions (since broken by Duval Kamara in 2007 and Michael Floyd in 2008).
Selected in the first round (sixth overall) in the 1988 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Raiders, Brown played 16 seasons with the franchise, earning him the title Mr. Raider. He holds the NFL rookie record for most combined yards gained (2,317) and became the oldest player to return a punt for a touchdown in 2001. A member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade team, he was named to nine Pro Bowls and hauled in an NFL record 75 receptions in 10 straight seasons.
Born Timothy Donell Brown on July 22, 1966, Brown grew up in Dallas, Texas, and attended Woodrow Wilson High School where he played football, basketball and track as well as served as vice president of his senior class and sports editor of the school newspaper. Brown graduated from Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology in 1988.
Brown is the national chairman of Athletes & Entertainers for Kids and currently resides in DeSoto, Texas.
As part of this week's College Football Hall of Fame induction events in New York, Brown and his fellow inductees took part in a press conference, with Brown's specific comments highlighted below. A transcript of the full press conference can be accessed via the PDF link at the top of this page.
2009 HALL OF FAME CLASS
THE MODERATOR: As we look at the group that is on the dais, for context, you should know that 4.72 million people have played in college football since the first game in 1869, and only 1052 individuals have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
So clearly the accomplishments of this group places each of them among the greatest of all times.
As for our Gold Medal and Distinguished American honorees, they have joined an elite list that includes seven U.S. Presidents, seven U.S. Generals, three U.S. Admirals, a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 32 corporate CEOs, and a select group of men with a strong passion for the game of football that went on to become some of our country's greatest leaders.
To begin, I will ask the question of each of the recipient inductees what it means to be inducted into the Hall of Fame ... From 1984 to 1987 at Notre Dame, wide receiver Tim Brown, the winner of the 1987 Heisman Trophy, and unanimous first team All American selection, here's Tim Brown.
Tim Brown: Thank you very much. First I apologize for being late. But don't get a chance to sleep in that often, so took advantage of it this morning. For me, what it means going into the College Football Hall of Fame is not even dreams come true, but miracles come true.
Being a young kid in south Dallas growing up, you love playing football. You dreamed of a lot of things. But when I left Dallas, Texas in 1984, the last thing that I would have thought winning the Heisman Trophy and ended up in the College Football Hall of Fame.
So for all the kids out there who look at Tim Brown, you know, miracles, dreams absolutely do come true if you do the right thing. So for that I will always be grateful to be enshrined with these great men that we're going in with this year. I'm looking forward to representing the foundation as best I can in the coming years.
THE MODERATOR: We'll now take questions from the audience.
Q. Tim, as you have watched the college game and how it's changed, give me your thoughts on what college football looks like today?
Tim Brown: Well, to me when I see the athletes and you look at the receiver position, it seems to me that the guys are a lot more talented as far as their physical ability. They're bigger, stronger and faster.
I don't know that necessarily means they're better football players, but they're certainly better athletes. When you watch some of the guys do what they do, it's incredible.
You know, if I was playing in that era, I don't know what position I would be playing. I would probably be playing defensive back, because I wouldn't have been big enough to play receiver. These guys are 6'4", 6'5" and very athletic. They look more like basketball players than football players.
To see a guy like Kevin Johnson who is now with Detroit, when you walk up on this kid, he looks like a defensive end. He's out there wearing my number 81 and getting it done. And that's the thing that I say.
I think these kids with all the workout facilities that are around the country where you can start at eight years old and start training your kids to be a great athlete, I do believe that some of the fundamentals of the game are being left behind. You see a lot more injuries now. You see a lot more serious injuries, a lot more concussions because these guys are bigger, faster and stronger, and they don't necessarily have the fundamentals that we had playing the game and knowing how to protect ourselves. I caught probably 90% of my balls in the middle of the football field and I never got one concussion. Now my brother would say that's because I was scared and I was always getting down. But I would tell you it's because I knew where people were on the field, and I knew where the hits were coming from.
So I would love to see these guys spend a little more time in the film room and a little less time in the weight room.
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