In the military, one of our favorite sayings was ‘hurry up and wait'. It's a phrase that has made its way into our everyday lives as it seems to relate to many facets of life. Such was the case with Tim Brown's NFL career and beyond.
The now Hall of Fame former NFL receiver spent 17 years -- 16 of which as a member of the Raiders -- sculpting his legacy. After his NFL days were done, he then waited 11 years - 5 years mandatory and 6 years as a nominee - before finally getting the call he had been waiting so long to receive - the one notifying him he would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Once that call came in the 9-time Pro Bowl receiver was then thrust back into the spotlight as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2015.
That can be quite a shock to the system for many former NFLers whose lives after football had slowed down considerably. But Brown has done his best to take it in stride and keep perspective.
"One of the things that Aenaes Williams told me the night they made the announcement when I saw him at the hotel downtown ‘do not let this be a whirlwind for you," Brown said. "Take every event you go to in, take every day in, every time somebody says congratulations, stop and acknowledge it because this is a once in a lifetime deal. You never get this opportunity again. So, from that standpoint, I've tried not to let it be a whirlwind, I try to take it all in. It's meant a lot, it's kept me really, really busy, I got a feeling on August 10th I'm going to duck my head under a couch or under a bed somewhere and not come up for a while, but up until then, we're going to enjoy every moment of it."
The big day is August 9 when Brown will take the stage along with seven other members of the 2015 Hall of Fame class. Before Brown takes the stage, he will be introduced by his brother, Don Kelly, who Brown credits with getting him into football in the first place. Much like Tim is ready for him moment, he says his older brother is ready for his.
"He's not the nervous type of guy. He's always... it seems as far back as I can remember, because he's eight years older, he's always been very mature and very sure of himself, so there's no doubt in my mind that nobody in this world probably knows me better than him from all aspects of my life, so from that standpoint he feels as if he's the best man for the job and he's looking forward to it."
Once he accepts his induction into the Hall of Fame, it won't be long before the sports world will turn their attention to the nominees for the 2016 class. And just the day after, the first preseason game for the 2015 season will be played and certainly the fans will be caught up in that for the next 6 months.
From there, Brown will simply be referred to with "Hall of Famer" ahead of his name. And with that title comes plenty of its own benefits, opportunities, and perhaps responsibilities as well.
"I look at this as a platform. God has given me yet another level on that platform and this happens to be a huge level, so I certainly hope I'm able to continue to go around the country speaking to men, speaking to young boys and young men and just trying to encourage young men to be the best young men they can possibly be."
Once such young man Brown had already offered his to is Raiders rookie receiver, Amari Cooper. Though he has yet to have the opportunity to offer Cooper any kind of advice, he openly advocated for the Raiders to draft the talented receiver and after they did just that, he let Cooper know he was there should he need him.
"I said to him on Twitter the night he was drafted ‘if you need me or when you need me or if you wanna talk, you know where I am. You could always get ahold of me' but I don't feel it's my place to interject myself into his life. He knows how I feel and I told him at the Heisman ceremony that I hope if he decides to come out that the Raiders would be there to draft him because I just felt that he was the perfect guy to come in and really take the receiver position to the next level."
The thing about Cooper is he seems to have a very good head on his shoulders. Any advice from Brown is not likely to include his character. Cooper appears to have no issues in that department.
"[His character] was one of the things that drew me to him. Obviously you have a lot of great receivers and even a couple this year. But the last two or three years you've had a chance to really, I had a chance I should say, to cover him a lot on Sirius radio and doing college football games and every time you heard somebody speak about him they always talk about how great a kid he is. I think that's important at this particular point for him to be able to really get into the Raider community the way he needs to be. I think he needs to take that same attitude and I think if he does that they will love on him and it will be an incredible relationship."
Before the man whose name became synonymous with the Raiders franchise was advocating for that franchise to give Cooper a chance to be the next great Raiders recceiver, Brown himself had a couple of Hall of Famers campaigning for him to take the next step and realize his Hall of Fame dream.
Once former teammate Jerry Rice and good friend Andre Reed were sporting their own yellow jackets, they both made it clear that the next in line should be Tim Brown.
The Hall of Fame has a tendency to only induct one wide receiver at a time and the primary competition for Brown's induction was former Colts receiver Marvin Harrison. And as the Hall of Fame often works, these players have windows that open and close, with the window sometimes closing for good. It was cause for some worry for Tim.
"I felt this year - if I didn't make it that was one thing - but if they put Marvin Harrison in before me then there was going to be a problem. I did realize that and I think I've been in this game and I've been around the Hall of Fame game long enough to understand that if that happens and there's an issue that's not being worked out in that meeting room. It was something in the back... well it wasn't in the back of my head, it was in the front of my head because I knew that potentially was an issue and I told my family that if they put in Marvin Harrison . . . then we can stop talking about this Hall of Fame thing because this thing could be a while before it happens."
Now that Brown has finally made it, he too will pay it forward to Harrison as his choice to be the next receiver in the Hall of Fame.
"Well, I'm not gonna jump around guys and say [Terrell Owens] should go in before Marvin. I think the way you come out is the way you go in. I think the only thing that's disappointing about the way things went with me, Andre [Reed], and Cris [Carter] is they actually put Cris in before Andre. And not that Andre deserved to go in before him but he was out before him so from that standpoint I think that sort of gives the players a little bit more relief that ok this guy, once they this guy is in I got a chance to get in, but when they start jumping around, this thing gets chaotic, no doubt about it. So, if they put a receiver in next year I hope they put in Marvin because they have a whole crop of receivers coming after that that could be real problematic if they don't go ahead and put Marvin in right now."
As the aptly named ‘Mr Raider', he knows a thing or two about deserving players not getting their due. Ray Guy had to wait 23 years to get into the Hall of Fame through the senior committee. And there are still quite a few Raider greats who not only haven't gotten in, but who often aren't even nominated.
When naming the former Raiders who he thought were the biggest snubs from the Hall, he went with players whose legendary status was formed prior to his time in Silver and Black.
"Lester Hayes without a doubt I believe should be in the Hall of Fame. Jack Tatum should be in the Hall of Fame. I know why these guys are not, because Jack Tatum was known as the nastiest, dirtiest safety in the league at the time and Lester was raping guys at the line of scrimmage the way he played the game. But those two guys should be given heavy consideration. I can't figure out why they haven't come up on the senior list or maybe they have but just keep falling a little short. Obviously everybody would love to see Cliff Branch in. I of course would love to see that happen too. It will be interesting to see what happens with Cliff. What I keep hearing is ‘Well, Freddy B was MVP' and ‘Freddy B did this' and "Freddy B did that', but a lot of the stuff Freddy B was able to do was because Cliff was running three people out of the way. So, whatever we can do to give more attention to him, we should definitely do."
Those deserving greats will not be behind him come August 9 when he takes the stage in Canton and takes his place in those hallowed halls. But there will be a great many other former Raiders he will be joining on that day.
The last great Raider taking the final step in a long journey that began in Los Angeles in 1988 and ends in Canton in 2015. And thus begins a new journey - Tim Brown, Hall of Famer.