"Actually, I haven't heard that," Brown said. "I think you have to look at the play-calling and what position I was in. Jerry Porter got on a roll and he was getting some of the plays I would be getting, some of the seam routes. I don't worry about that."
That talk stems largely because Jerry Rice was the team's leading receiver in catching 92 passes for 1,211 yards and seven touchdowns. Jerry Porter enjoyed a breakout campaign last season in grabbing 51 passes for 688 yards and a team-high nine touchdowns.
Brown, meanwhile, caught 81 passes for 930 yards and just two touchdowns. Last season marked the first time since 1992 that he failed to reach 1,000 yards receiving. The issue is not about Porter replacing Brown as a starter since the Raiders employed three-receiver formations many times. The matter instead is Porter potentially surpassing Brown in production.
"I could have had literally 12 touchdowns last year," Brown said. "Either Rich (Gannon) went somewhere else. We got one called back in Arizona. It was a bad luck year but we made it to the Super Bowl so I'm not going to sit around and complain about not scoring touchdowns. If it takes me not scoring a touchdown for us to win it, I don't have a problem with that. I don't think it has anything to do with my talent."
Those with superficial knowledge of football assume that the receiver who catches the ball is the quarterback's first option. That scenario, however, is not the case.
"I'm not going to sit here and tell you guys that I don't want to be the first read on every play but when you deal with guys like a young Jerry porter who can light it up, the greatest of all time (Rice), Charlie Garner, now you got Teyo Johnson and Doug Jolley," Brown said. "If your play is called everything has to go right."
Vince D'Adamo can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com