The question is, when and where will the "play" button hit?
Brown and the Oakland Raiders parted ways after he stated to owner Al Davis that he would not be willing to accept a drastically reduced role in the Raiders offense. Oakland will formally release Brown on Thursday after spending 16 years with the team.
With Jerry Rice and Fred Biletnikoff looking on, Davis announced his intentions in a news conference with Brown at the Raiders' training camp headquarters in at the Napa Valley Marriott in Napa, CA. Brown still hopes to play this season, but unless Oakland sustains a multitude of injuries, it won't be in Raiders uniform.
"As far as I'm concerned this is a pause button, not a stop button," Brown said. "This is not the end of my relationship with the Raider organization. I understand that the game of football gets very complicated. There are a lot of things that happen. There are a lot of things you have to deal with."
Brown's role has, in effect, slid to the No. 3 receiver after so many years of being the top-dog. Brown, however, was going to be the Raiders No. 4 or 5 man, which meant that at time he would not suit up for games. Brown also indicated that he did not want to be seen as a player that wore out his welcome.
"I didn't want to be a distraction," Brown said. "I think those guys have great respect for me, and I think you lose some of that if you accept a role where you're not playing. ... When you've played at the level I've played at, it's tough to be on the sidelines waving a towel."
Brown fell out of favor with former head coach Bill Callahan, who eventually replaced Brown in the starting lineup with Jerry Porter. Brown also did not fit into first-year head coach Norv Turner's plans. Younger receivers such as Doug Gabriel, Ronald Curry, Johnnie Morant and Alvis Whitted are expected to continue getting a long look as well.
Brown added that he hopes to hook on with another ball club but his options might be limited. Three teams that might be possible are Tampa Bay, Denver or Dallas (him hometown).
"Coming into training camp you always think you've got a lot left in the tank," Brown said. "It's in January when you realize that maybe you don't. I feel good. I think the last couple years I really had off. Thanks to Mr. Rice and Mr. Porter I really haven't had to do that much the last couple of years. I think I can still play this game."
Tampa Bay would be a possibility because of former Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. Denver because former Raiders head coach Mike Shananan loves nothing better than sticking it to Davis. Dallas would be a possibility because it's Brown's hometown and the Cowboys are one franchise that can rival the Raiders in terms of being storied.
"Obviously this won't be the end of Tim Brown," Brown said. "I'll surface somewhere, hopefully. If not, I'll be back here in the middle of the season doing a retirement deal."
If Brown does not find a club ball club, he has expressed interest in possibly working in the Raiders front office or going into broadcasting but he has ruled out a career in coaching.
"Our relationship will continue," Davis said. "It always does."