Tim Brown didn’t want No. 81 at first

Getty Images

Today’s Pro Football Talk on NBCSN launches the Prime Numbers series on Monday, with a look at the best players who have worn No. 81.  Few have worn it better than receiver Tim Brown.

In an interview to air on Monday’s show, Brown explains how he ended up wearing the number with which he has become forever linked.

“When I got to Notre Dame I wanted number 6 because that’s what I wore in high school and Milt Jackson, a veteran older receiver, was wearing number 6 so I couldn’t get it,” Brown tells Erik Kuselias.  “So they said, ‘Hey, you’re going to wear number 81.’  So they told me Ken McAfee and all these great Notre Dame guys have worn it, I believe even Alan Page had worn it at Notre Dame.  So I said, ‘Okay, well, I’ll put on the number and maybe I can do something a little different with it.'”

Brown put it on, and he never took it off.  Even though it took some effort once he got to L.A. and the Raiders.

“When I first got to the Raiders I actually wore 85 in preseason and I was crying the whole preseason,” Brown said.  “I was trying not to go to the media about it, but finally I had to make a deal with the tight end who was wearing the number 81.  I gave him like $4,000, but his wife was mad because she had just had this diamond 81 pendant made so she wasn’t too happy about that.”

Brown would have wanted a lot more than that for the number later in his career, due to his own wife.

“She was the one wearing the jerseys to the game so she would’ve named the price, and believe me that would’ve been high,” Brown said.

For more from Brown, including his favorite memory of the late Al Davis and what Al Davis would think of this edition of the Raiders, tune in at 5:30 p.m. ET, where we’ll also talk No. 1, No. 2, and No. 54.


10 responses to “Tim Brown didn’t want No. 81 at first

  1. I find it hilarious grown men argue over something as trivial as a number

    I have coached minor hockey and baseball for many years and the issuance of numbers has never been an issue with small children ( at least the ones I have had the privilege of coaching)

  2. Time Brown did it all and did it very well for a long, long time. He had Rich Gannon for 3 years at the end, and the rest of his QB’s were essentially mediocre to bad.

    Put him in the Hall now. Consistently ranked in the top of his position, a Pro’s Pro, AND he returned kicks. He also came back from a knee injury in his second year.

    No way he is behind Carter or Reed in my mind.

  3. When i was a youngster playing baseball i always had to have 9. Mainly because of Roger Maris. To the person who said he coached and never had kids fighting over numbers: either those kids were too young to have a favorite player whose number they wanted to wear, you found a group of children who wanted to play but didn’t follow sports which is highly unlikely, or you’re lying.

  4. Have to agree about the numbers. My generation was Koufax #32, Jim Brown #32, Mantle #7, Mays #24, Aaron #44, Maris #9…and Jim Otto #00. We fought over numbers in little league and Pop Warner.
    Its funny when kids fight over them, as I have coached, and its not such a stretch to see grown men playing a kids game do the same.
    Seriously..do any of us really grow up?

  5. Ken McAfee was drafted in the 1st, round by the San Francisco 49er’s in the 1979 draft…..later in the 3rd. round they drafted the Q.B. who led the Fighting Irish, Joe Montana. If they hadn’t sent scouts to work out McAfee they wouldn’t have noticed Joe…..McAfee was a bust, Montana a legend!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!