Transcription of an interview with Tim Brown by hosts Adam Schein and Rich Gannon on Sirius Satellite Radio:
Q: If you reached out to Al Davis, what would you tell Al about how to fix the Oakland Raiders?
Brown: I think it’s pretty simple, man. I think he really just needs a football guy in there to help him out. The one thing I tell people about Al Davis, there’s no doubt – and Rich, I’m sure, can vouch for this – Al Davis knows football. It’s not a matter of him not knowing football. I can remember even going back to my rookie year sitting at the Super Bowl with him in the booth, the great game when the 49ers came back and beat the Bengals, and he called that last drive play by play. And he kept asking me, ‘What do you think Timma,’ he calls me Timma, ‘What do you think on this play, Timma?’ And I would say, ‘Slant to Jerry Rice.’ [He’d say,] ‘No, they’re going to throw it to Roger Craig.’ Boom. And he went all the way down the field doing that.
That really convinced me that this guy knows football for sure.’ I think now what is happening is you have guys in the locker room that just don’t get it. They don’t understand. And certainly, the way the thing ended. I leave sort of unexpectedly. Jerry Rice wants out. Rich gets hurt. Jerry Porter wants out. Charles Woodson wanted out. You had a lot of guys trying to get out of the organization or leaving the organization unexpectedly. And that’s hard to do anytime you have veteran football players who have been great for the organization. When they get out like that, when they leave unexpectedly, it can be a very difficult thing to recover from. And I just don’t think they have recovered. They don’t have great veteran leadership and I think it’s very safe to say that. It’s a team that is talented but they just don’t have the leadership, I believe, to take them to the next level.
Q: Your evaluation of JaMarcus Russell?
Brown: When you look at JaMarcus, you know, the Raiders sort of called me unofficially before they drafted him and they asked me what did I think? And I told them then that I didn’t think this guy was a player. I thought it would take three to four years before he developed because I was at that LSU-Notre Dame game and I watched this guy intently warming up and throwing balls before the game and during the game and what I saw was not an NFL quarterback. It was a sandlot player, a guy who can go back there, pat the ball five times and then throw it with that velocity he has in his arm.
But, Rich, you know better than me, you don’t have five pats in the NFL. You’ve got about a pat and a half and then somebody’s about to take your head off. And when he tried to throw the ball on time it came out like a rocket. So I thought it would take significant time for this guy to develop how to drop back and throw the ball, a catchable ball that a receiver could maneuver and go on with. So I’m not surprised what has happened with him. You throw in the fact that, from what I hear, he doesn’t have the great work ethic that every quarterback has to have, that’s going to equal failure in the NFL any day of the week.
Q: Evaluation of Darrius Heyward-Bey?
Brown: When it comes to Heyward-Bey, I’ve seen Al do this several times. He had Sam Graddy, he had Alexander Wright, James Jett turned out to be a decent player for them, played 10 years and made some incredible plays, and I’m sure Al sees Heyward-Bey as being a guy who can do the same things. The only problem, what happened was they didn’t have a guy who was ‘the guy’ at the receiver position. If they would have had that then they could have hid him a little more and gave him a time to get right.
But being that they didn’t have that in place already, all the focus was on him and then all the other receivers that came out this year, you know, you have [Michael] Crabtree coming in very late and dwarfing Heyward-Bey’s numbers by so many. I think it just made it look like an even worse pick than everybody thought it was already. So I think this kid will develop into something. Obviously he has some talent but he really had some problems catching the ball. Watching him on television I think he really had some perception problems picking up the ball and until they get that straightened out I think it’s going to be long, long career for him.
Q: On wanting to work with young Raiders receivers:
Brown: I would love to do it and I’ve said that. I’ve reached out to them and said, ‘Hey, give me a couple days with this guy and I can give you a real assessment of where he is and we go from there.’ I’m on my way right now to work with a couple of young college guys, [Kansas WR] Dez Brisco and [Brandon] LaFell out of LSU. I would love to be able to pass on what God blessed me with to these younger guys but sometimes it’s a lot more difficult than we think it is.
Q: What’s the Raiders’ reaction when you say you want to work with these guys?
Brown: Well, you know, everybody says ok but the phone never rings. … I’m never going to step on anybody’s toes. I’ll throw the offer out there and I’m not asking to get paid for it or anything. I just don’t like, my name is so synonymous with the Raiders, that to hear people week in and week out dogging this organization, it’s very hurtful to me. It’s something that I have to deal with. So I have a vested interest in seeing this thing get turned around.