What exactly is manhood? How do guys get there?
Tim Brown won the Heisman Trophy at Notre Dame and starred in the NFL for seventeen seasons. He left the game as a Los Angeles and Oakland Raiders legend and one of the most respected men in sports, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015. Now “Mr. Raider” shares his amazing journey—the triumphs, the heartbreaks, the struggles with women, Al Davis, and God—as well as the principles and priorities that made him the man he is today.
Much more than a sports memoir, The Making of a Man reveals how faith, family, honor, and integrity have everything to do with true manhood and a life well-lived. Whether you are a rabid fan or have little interest in football, a young boy or already facing the fourth quarter of your life, these pages will both challenge and inspire you to become the man you’ve always known you could be.
“When a man comes into your life and shows you something about yourself that you didn’t know was in you, it’s remarkable. The Apostle Paul did that for Timothy, encouraging him to preach and teach and reminding him, “Do not neglect your gift” (1 Tim. 4:14). Paul was a mentor to Timothy, ready to point out the gifts of his protégé and willing to help develop those gifts and pass on his knowledge. Lou Holtz did the same for me, as well as for a whole lot of other guys. That’s what a mentor does. I’ll always be grateful that he inspired me to believe in myself.”
Former Heisman Trophy Winner,
NFL All-Pro and Pro Football Hall of Famer
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.50(d)|
About the Author
Tim Brown is one of the greatest wide receivers to ever play in the National Football League. Notre Dame's Heisman Trophy winner in 1987, and inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015, Tim played sixteen seasons for the Los Angeles and Oakland Raiders, earning nine Pro Bowl selections and setting numerous team and league records. He has served as a television analyst for Fox Sports, NBC, ESPN, and Sirius XM Satellite radio, and devotes his time and efforts to numerous charitable causes.
James (Jim) Lund is an award-winning collaborator, editor, and author. He has worked with bestselling authors, public figures, and ministry leaders including Max Lucado, Jim Daly, Randy Alcorn, Dr. James & Shirley Dobson, Dennis & Barbara Rainey, George Foreman, Tim Brown, Kathy Ireland, Jim Caviezel, Kim Meeder, Steve Farrar, and Shaunti Feldhahn. Three have earned the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Gold Medallion Award.
Read an Excerpt
THE MAKING OF A MAN
How Men and Boys Honor God and Live with Integrity
By TIM BROWN, JAMES LUND
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2014 Tim Brown
All rights reserved.
A MAN IS THANKFUL
There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.
We lined up without a huddle. It was a hitch play, a zero-ninety audible. From the left side, I took a couple of steps then sprinted to my left. As usual, Rich Gannon's pass was on target. I caught it on our thirty-one yard line. A quick fake and I was past cornerback Samari Rolle. I got a block, then made another player miss.
Two guys came at me. Safety Tank Williams was on my left, defensive end Kevin Carter on my right. I'd already gained ten yards. I was usually good about getting down on the ground before a big hit, which is what I should have done this time. But there was a chance for just a little more, and in this game, I was ready to fight for every yard. I kept running.
Carter, all 290 pounds of him, got to me first. When he hit me, he punched the ball out of my right arm—a fumble. Rolle recovered. Just like that, we'd lost possession and maybe our momentum.
Correct that—I'd lost it. As I headed to the sideline, a television camera caught the pained look on my face. This was the biggest game of my life, and I was afraid I'd just blown it. It was January 19, 2003, and the Oakland Raiders were playing the Tennessee Titans for the American Football Conference championship. The winner would advance to the Super Bowl.
Twenty-five years is a long time to play the game of football. It feels even longer if during all those years you've never competed for a title, let alone walked off the field a champion. But that was exactly my situation. Starting with my days as a third grader at Dallas's Mount Auburn Elementary, and all the way through middle school, high school, college, and fifteen years as a pro, I'd been on a lot of losing teams. I had never had the opportunity to even try to win it all. I wanted it bad. Now, in a crazy place known for the notorious "Black Hole" and its rowdy fans, I hoped to finally get my chance.
I woke up that morning at the Oakland Airport Hilton thinking about everything that had brought me to this point. It had been a great season for the Raiders. We'd started fast, winning our first four games, then dropped the next four, two of them in overtime. But we turned it on in the season's second half, winning seven of our last eight, followed by a 30–10 victory over the New York Jets in the playoffs.
We had an incredible offense, led by Rich Gannon, the league's Most Valuable Player that year and the most mentally prepared quarterback I ever played with, as well as my good friend Jerry Rice, the NFL's all-time leader in receptions and yardage, and All-Pro linemen Lincoln Kennedy and Barret Robbins. On defense, our leaders were guys like All-Pro safety Rod Woodson and longtime standouts Charles Woodson and Bill Romanowski. Now we were one step away from playing on Super Sunday.
I'd come close to the big game before.
Actually, after my rookie year, I ended up watching the San Francisco 49ers win the Super Bowl from the same suite as Raiders owner Al Davis. That's where I decided I wouldn't be attending the Super Bowl in person again until I got there as a player. It was too tough seeing those guys celebrate on the field. That was where I wanted to be.
My first real chance at the big one came in 1990, my third year in the NFL. The Raiders won their division and advanced to the AFC title game. Then the Buffalo Bills destroyed us, 51–3. A decade later, in 2000, we were division champs again. This time it was the Baltimore Ravens and their swarming defense that stopped us in the AFC championship, 16–3.
And then came 2001 and the infamous "Tuck Rule Game." Once again, we were in the AFC title game, this time against the New England Patriots. We were protecting a three-point lead late in the game when we recovered a Patriots fumble, apparently sealing a trip to the Super Bowl at last. But the officials reversed their call, citing an obscure rule. New England kicked a field goal to tie the game, then another in overtime to win it. We felt robbed, that the league had it in for us. You can't imagine the anger and disappointment after that one.
But now, a season later, we were back. At this point I was thirty-six years old, practically ancient in the world of football. In just my second year in the NFL, I suffered a knee injury that caused me to miss virtually the whole season. Doctors told me then I'd be fortunate to play until I was thirty. Despite this, I'd survived fifteen years in the league. I guess some would say "thrived." I'd been named to nine Pro Bowls. I'd led the league in receptions one year, in kick return yards and average in another, and in punt return yards in a third. I had the second-most receiving yards in NFL history.
It had been a great run, but you could say that I was playing on borrowed time. It was another reason why I wanted so badly to get to the Super Bowl.
Yet I'd also changed during those fifteen years. My life was about more than me and football. My faith had matured and deepened. I'd always believed in God, but now I was fully committed to Him. As a husband and father, I became more devoted to my family than ever. I was becoming the man I was meant to be.
One look at Sherice, my beautiful wife, was all it took to remind me of the joys and responsibilities that extended far beyond the NFL. We had been married for nearly six years, and already had a daughter together. Now she was eight and a half months pregnant, expecting twins. If that doesn't make you think about who you are and where you're headed, I don't know what will. So much of my past had centered around myself and football, but my future was all about my wife, my kids, and our expanding family.
I didn't want it any other way.
Not that I'd lost my competitive fire. No chance. Individual awards are great, but especially at this point in my football career, my focus was on wins. The Super Bowl was the only thing missing from my resumé, and everyone around me knew it.
When Jerry Rice left the San Francisco 49ers and joined the Raiders the season before, he said, "I came over here for one reason—that's to help Tim Brown win the Super Bowl." I was definitely on board with that. I wanted all the help I could get.
As far as help from above, I was open to that too, but I no longer prayed to win specific games. That never felt right to me. If I'm praying to win and the other team is doing the same thing, then what? But I did pray for strength, for my teammates and I to play our best, and for good health when the game was over. And early in my career, I also prayed, "Lord, help me win a Super Bowl. Show me how I can help win a Super Bowl."
In the last few years, though, my perspective and prayer had changed. I was trying to leave the winning and losing up to God. I just wanted to be there, to go through that whole experience. If I could just play in the big game, it would be something no one could ever take away from me.
* * *
Spaghetti with meat sauce. Toast with butter and honey. That's what was on my plate at the hotel before the Tennessee game, because that's what I always ate before a late-day game. Athletes depend on routine to help them stay focused, and I was no exception. If the honey for my toast was missing, there was going to be trouble!
During my rookie year, whenever we played in one of the late games scheduled on a Sunday, I always watched the first five or ten minutes of the early TV game in my hotel room. When my second season began, however, I'd been named a starter, and I was so excited about being on the field for that opening game that I broke my routine. I left the hotel earlier than usual, missing the start of the early game on TV.
That was the day I injured my knee. After one catch, I was out for the year.
I was sure I got hurt because I'd changed my usual pregame schedule. So for the rest of my career, whenever we played in the late game, I always watched the kickoff and at least the first series of the early game. Now that we were facing the Titans in the AFC title game, I sure wasn't going to mess with my routine.
Of course, on this day my interest in the early game was more than casual. We might be playing the winner in the Super Bowl. So after my spaghetti, I watched the favored Philadelphia Eagles score an early touchdown, then saw the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come back with a field goal, a seventy-one-yard completion to Joe Jurevicius, and a touchdown by Mike Alstott to take a 10–7 lead.
Time to go. I had my own game to play.
The drive to Oakland's Network Associates Coliseum took only six or seven minutes. Tens of thousands of fans were already there and waiting to get in, many lined up along the lane into the players' parking lot. They were pumped up, shouting and waving. I knew that when all sixty thousand–plus fans arrived the atmosphere in the stadium was going to be even crazier.
It was loud in the locker room too, but as usual I was ignoring all that. I got into my undergarments, put headphones over my ears and a towel over my head, and turned on my gospel music, people like Fred Hammond, Donnie McClurkin, and Yolanda Adams. It was my way to tune out the world and begin focusing on what I needed to do.
On this day, I was having a little trouble with that focus. The demons that had haunted all those past Raiders teams were threatening to get into my head. I needed to forget all that negativity and not think about what could go wrong, how one bad call or one bad play could turn everything against us. It was time to be positive. After all, we were a confident, veteran team. We'd led the NFL in total yards. We were favored and had the home field. If we avoided mental mistakes, we would get it done.
I turned up my music and walked to the training room to get taped up: ankles, wrists, and my big toes to prevent turf toe. Then it was back to my locker, where I lay on my back on the carpeted floor, stretched my hands out, and thought through our plays, my routes for each play, and the film we'd watched of Tennessee. For the next twenty-five minutes, I let my body relax while I prepared my mind for what was coming.
I stretched for another half hour, then applied heated plaster patches to my back, hamstrings, and hip flexors—the temperature at kickoff would be forty-eight degrees, and I knew it would be a lot colder by game's end. Once I got my pads and pants on, it was 2:00 p.m., ninety minutes before kickoff. It was time to warm up on the field.
The fans were streaming in, including in sections 104, 105, 106, and 107 in the south end zone, otherwise known as the Black Hole. This is where the most rabid followers resided, all standing up, all decked out in silver and black and crazy costumes: pirates, gorillas, Darth Vader, you name it. Raider Nation has always been made up of the wildest, most enthusiastic, most supportive fans anywhere. I hoped this would be the day we rewarded them.
We came out firing. After the kickoff, Rich Gannon connected with Jerry Rice on a twenty-nine-yard pass. I caught the next one for twelve yards. Then it was a pass to Charlie Garner for six yards and another to me for fourteen, which put us on Tennessee's eight yard line. After a pair of runs, Gannon hit Jerry Porter with a three-yard touchdown pass.
Just like that, we were up 7–0. It looked like the Titans couldn't stop us.
I knew it wasn't going to be that easy, though, and it wasn't. They came right back, with Steve McNair passing thirty-three yards to Drew Bennett for the game-tying touchdown. We marched down the field a second time and scored again on a twelve-yard completion to Garner. Gannon had yet to throw an incomplete pass.
Early in the second quarter, our defense held the Titans to a field goal. We were up 14–10 to start our next drive. Our offense was clicking. It was just like I'd figured in the locker room—all we had to do was avoid mistakes and not beat ourselves.
And that's when I fumbled.
I won't say I was thinking, Here we go again, as I walked off the field. But I definitely hoped our defense would stop Tennessee on that next drive. The last thing I wanted was to make it easy for the Titans to get the edge on us. Fumbles can turn a game around.
Our guys did hold them—Roderick Coleman dropped running back Eddie George for a six-yard loss on second down—and I shook plenty of hands as our defense left the field. Only we didn't do anything with the ball either, and on their next possession, the Titans drove it in, scoring a touchdown on McNair's nine-yard scramble.
We'd crushed Tennessee earlier in the season, 52–25. But now, in the biggest game of the season and of my career, with 2:54 to go in the half, the Titans led 17–14. We had to respond.
Our situation looked even worse when, after a short pass and two incompletions, we had to punt. But like I said, fumbles can turn a game around. As it turned out, it wasn't my fumble that made the difference, but a pair by Tennessee.
The first came with 1:38 to play. Running back Rob Holcombe tried a spin move up the middle, but Eric Barton hit him and knocked the ball loose. Anthony Dorsett recovered on the Tennessee sixteen, and two plays later we had a touchdown to take back the lead, 21–17.
Then our kickoff coverage team turned in a huge play. Peter Simon made a strong kick return for the Titans, but he coughed up the ball on a tackle by Tim Johnson. There was a scramble for the ball before Alvis Whitted fell on it. We had the ball on Tennessee's thirty-nine yard line. Gannon scrambled for fourteen yards on first down, and we ended up with a field goal on the last play of the half to lead 24–17.
The game was still tight after three quarters, as we led 27–24. But we finally played the way we were capable of, scoring on a sixty-six-yard drive, forcing a Tennessee punt, and driving another sixty-nine yards. When running back Zack Crockett rushed that last seven yards into the end zone, there was only 3:29 left in the game. We were up 41–24. The crowd roared louder than I'd ever heard them.
I'd led both teams with nine receptions on the day, for seventy-three yards, but I didn't care about that. As I walked off the field, emotions overwhelmed me. This is really happening. We're going to the Super Bowl.
The guys on the sideline were whooping it up, but I was barely holding it together. Freddie Biletnikoff, the great Raiders receiver who was now our receivers coach, gave me a hug. That put it over the top. The tears started flowing. All I could do was grab a towel and put it over my head again. After all these years, after all the training and practices and injuries and heartbreaking losses, I'd finally made it to the big game. I was just so thankful.
I thought about Sherice and the kids and how much I loved them. I thought about Mama and Dad, my brother and sisters, and all the support my family had given me. I remembered my pastor and others at our church, my friends, my teammates, Raiders fans, everyone who had played a part in my journey to this point.
As the seconds on the scoreboard clock ticked away, more players and staff from the Raiders kept coming up to congratulate me. Jerry Rice gave me a hug and said, "I told you we were going to get there!"
Was I excited and thrilled? Of course. But even more than that, I was thankful. Thank You, God, I silently prayed. Thank You for all the people You've put in my life. Thank You for this win, this team, and this opportunity. Thank You.
In the good times of my life—and there have been many—I've always tried to remember to thank God for what He's given me. I've met many people who are extremely successful in their careers. Some of them, once they start talking, are pretty quick to tell you about all they've done. It's "I, I, I" and "Me, me, me." They have a difficult time acknowledging the people who helped them along the way. More important, they fail to give God the credit for opening the doors to opportunity and giving them the skills to succeed. They want to believe their accomplishments are all the result of their hard work. And sure, they've put in the work. But none of it would matter if God wasn't paving the road ahead.
That's not the attitude I want to have, which is why I was quick to thank God after our victory over Tennessee. He'd always been faithful to me, and on one of the great days of my life, I wanted to be sure I remained faithful to Him. That, I believe, is what a man does.
Excerpted from THE MAKING OF A MAN by TIM BROWN, JAMES LUND. Copyright © 2014 Tim Brown. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1 A Man Is Thankful 1
2 Mama Knows Best 11
3 Manhood Starts with Dad 21
4 A Man Uses His Skills 31
5 Persistence Creates Confidence 43
6 Men Need Mentors 57
7 Even Heisman Winners Get Humbled 73
8 A Man Takes Responsibility 83
9 A Man Is Mentally and Physically Strong 93
10 A Man Overcomes Temptation 103
11 Faith Is for Life 113
12 A Man Romances a Woman's Heart 123
13 Be Who You're Meant to Be 133
14 Surround Yourself with Good People 143
15 Respect Must Be Earned 153
16 Little Things Lead to Big Results 165
17 A Man Knows His Priorities 173
18 A Father Leads His Children 187
19 A Man Overcomes Evil 195
20 Your Legacy Matters 205
NFL Career Stats 213
About the Authors 221
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Absolutely an incredible read. Days after finishing the book I found myself reflecting on how I can become a better man in my walk! This book is not just for boys, but for teenagers, young men and grown adults. It will show you that all of us, even Heisman Trophy winners and great athletes have the same struggles that you have and it will give you a guide not just of words, but of actions on how to better yourself as a man, as a husband, a father and most importantly as a child of God! This is by far the most inspiring, soul touching and God filled books I have ever read!
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