Just two more numbers in the 80s in our countdown. Today we hit 81 days until the Raiders season opener. These days there’s an 81 jersey running around with the name Brown on the back.
TE Pharaoh Brown
Coming to the Raiders as an undrafted free agent, Pharaoh Brown has the makings of a tremendous find. At one time, he was one of most promising tight ends in the country. The 6-5, 246-pounder caught 25 passes for 420 yards and 6 touchdowns in nine games for the Ducks in 2014. He was on the radar as a hot draft prospect. Then it all came crashing down.
In that week 9 game against Utah, Brown tore two ligaments in his knee, and the damage caused a stretched artery. The artery restricted blood flow to the rest of Brown's leg, and doctors feared they would have to amputate. A late-night emergency surgery was performed, and Brown's leg was saved.
He appeared to have recovered fully and returned to football for the 2016 season and catching 33 passes for 426 yards and 5 touchdowns in nine games as a fifth year senior. Honestly, how he didn’t get drafted is beyond me. That’s not to say he’s a lock to be a star, but he’s the kind of player teams typically take a flyer on in the late rounds. Their loss could be the Raiders gain.
Who wore it best: WR Tim Brown (1988-2003)
The original Brown 81 is "Mr Raider” himself, Tim Brown. The Hall of Fame receiver who holds every Raider receiving record and is among the top performer in nearly every NFL receiving category over 16 seasons with the Raiders.
The former Heisman Trophy winner out of Notre Dame was the 6th overall pick by the Raiders in the 1988 draft and immediately made the Pro Bowl - as a kick returner. He would again be named to the Pro Bowl as a return man three years later.
It wasn't until his fifth season in the NFL in 1992 that he became a full time starting wide receiver. He would then surpass 1000 yards receiving the following season and eight more seasons in a row after that. He would be named to the Pro Bowl 7 times in that span. Oddly enough, it wasn't until after his final 1000-yard season that the Raiders reached the Super Bowl. That was when for the first time since early in his career, he evenly shared the load with another receiver - Jerry Rice.
And as great of a wide receiver as we all know him to be, he is also the Raiders' all time leading return man as well as the oldest player in NFL history to have a kick return for a touchdown. He was 35 years old when he did it.