Maybe he and Vinny can get the aarp rates on road trips if they room together.
Tim Brown, working out Monday at the Raiders' training camp in Napa, turned out to be a real catch for the team as a No. 1 pick in 1988.
Sacramento Bee/Michael A. Jones
Brown's status is up in the air
A source says the Raiders might waive the probable Hall of Fame receiver soon.
By Gregg Bell -- Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 am PDT Tuesday, August 3, 2004
It's not too late to get into a Fantasy Sports League. Sign up here.
NAPA - Raiders owner/uber authority Al Davis made his first appearance at the team's four-day-old training camp Monday morning.
As the 75-year-old patriarch watched practice, none of the 90-plus Raiders in camp was more eager to see "The Man" than wide receiver Tim Brown.
A certain Hall of Famer - third all-time in NFL receptions (1,070) and second all-time in receiving yards (14,734) behind teammate Jerry Rice - Brown has been on the Raiders' first team this week, just as he has for the previous 13 years.
But Brown's starting status - and perhaps his Silver-and-Black career - is in limbo. And the lifetime Raider would rather be in his hometown of Dallas, maybe even in Cowboys blue, than in limbo.
Brown said he was scheduled to meet with Davis on Monday night. Concerning what he would ask Davis, Brown said, "I'm not asking anything. I didn't call the meeting."
A source within the organization said the Raiders are considering waiving Brown before the end of the preseason.
Brown turned 38 last month and is coming off a 52-catch season, his lowest output since 1992. His 567 receiving yards were his fewest since 1991. He scored just two touchdowns for the second consecutive season, his fewest since missing all but one game of 1989 with a injury.
Since Friday, the team's No. 1 draft choice in 1988 has waited for Davis to arrive for a rare summit meeting at the highest elevation of Raider Nation, a power powwow between final decision-maker and his 17-year, record-setting, franchise cornerstone.
Brown has refused to speak to the media so far, unusual given that for years, he has articulately and insightfully talked about an array of team and league issues. He originally said he would talk after last weekend. Then Sunday night, as he walked off the practice field and signed autographs in the parking lot on his way into the Napa Valley Marriott, Brown said the reason he hadn't spoken publicly was he needed to talk to the "higher-ups."
Brown added he hoped to speak with Davis on Sunday night or Monday.
Davis appeared Monday morning. Then Brown said, when asked after practice if he would speak as originally promised: "No, no, not today. Definitely tomorrow, though."
The Raiders gave Brown a six-year contract extension worth about $30 million before the 2003 season, but that was done for salary-cap purposes, to restructure his signing bonus money further into the future. His $760,000 base salary for 2004 isn't guaranteed, per the NFL norm. Brown has said he has renegotiated his contract at least 12 times in his 17 seasons, to help the Raiders create money used to sign other players.
The elephant in the corner of this Raiders camp has been Brown's on-field appearance. He appears to have gained some girth in his torso over the offseason. He also has taken himself out of drills for a play, or three. Once Saturday, during a drill between receivers and defensive backs, Brown waved off a more experienced cornerback in exchange for running a route against undrafted free agent James Bethea.
Brown appears to be running with a somewhat plodding gait and with considerably more effort than he has in the past. Still, first-year Raiders coach Norv Turner said last weekend that "Tim's weight is good, and I think Tim's running well."
Indeed, Brown looked as fluid as he has all camp during Monday's second practice, and Davis watched every play from about 10 yards away.
Brown has watched a stable of young receivers receive more practice time, though, with starting quarterback Rich Gannon and second-string passer Kerry Collins. Turner said that is by design, that Brown and Rice don't need the work the younger receivers do.
This is the season heir apparent Jerry Porter, healed from a 2003 torn groin, will seek maximum production - for maximum profit. He can become an unrestricted free agent after 2004.
Plus, Turner has spent the last three months talking up the progress of second-year wideout Doug Gabriel, who has seen increased time with the top offense. Alvis Whitted and converted quarterback Ronald Curry are still developing. Add to that the Raiders drafting receivers Carlos Francis (who had the rookie combine's fastest 40-yard dash time at 4.3 seconds in February) in the fourth round and lanky Johnnie Morant in the fifth, and the word "change" might as well be posted on the mirror in Brown's bathroom.
Turner maintained Monday that "Tim is doing a lot of good things."
"First of all, he's a great role model for the young receivers - not only a role model in terms of how to approach this game but the techniques of playing. I think he's off to a good start in camp. And experience is good."
Turner said Brown hasn't asked him about his role on this team.
"Obviously, the more things you do real well, the more opportunities you're going to have," Turner said. "Again, it's real early I think to be having these conversations."
When asked if Brown's mentoring of the younger receivers weighs in to any decision on his role, Turner said, "There's a lot of things that weigh in. But again, I think that's premature in terms of where we are."