Released Raiders receiver has options

Updated: August 6, 2004, 2:00 AM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Cut loose by the Oakland Raiders Thursday after 16 seasons, wide receiver Tim Brown definitely wants to play at least one more season, and it appears the third-leading pass-catcher in NFL history will have little problem securing a job.

Even before Brown was officially released, potential suitors were lining up, making known their intentions, both overtly and subtly, to consider pursuing him. Brown said Wednesday he will "take a few days" to mull over his future, but he figures to have some options.

Among those interested is Denver. The opportunity to finish off his Hall of Fame career in the AFC West, with the prospect of playing against the Raiders twice annually, could be appealing. Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who might be able to offer Brown the chance to snag the No. 3 wide receiver spot from rookie Darius Watts, almost certainly will use the revenge angle to some extent.

Shanahan also is seeking to add experience to a 13-man wideout corps that includes nine players with three years of NFL experience or less. In the offseason, Shanahan emphasized the addition of more experienced players, veterans who could still contribute on the field, but who could also offer a locker room presence.

Another team that might chase Brown is Tampa Bay, which seems pleased with its wide receivers, but where veteran Keenan McCardell remains out of camp in a contract dispute that will not be easily resolved. General manager Bruce Allen acknowledged Wednesday that he plans to phone Brown Thursday, although he did not say that he would offer him a job.

Allen is the former senior administrator for the Raiders and, as such, he and Brown spent many years together. Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden, former head coach of the Raiders, also is familiar with Brown. And it is impossible to overlook Gruden's penchant for adding veteran players.

Gruden conceded Wednesday that when veterans the caliber of Brown are released they are "always on our radar screen."

There are likely to be, beyond Denver and Tampa Bay, other teams interested as well. When contacted by ESPN.com, three personnel men, two from the AFC and one from the NFC, allowed that they spent part of Wednesday reviewing videotape of the 38-year-old wide receiver. Their feeling was that, while he might not be a clear starter anymore, Brown could still contribute.

Said one of the personnel directors: "Where he plays is probably going to come down to what role he will accept and how much money it's going to take to get him. And in both those regards, I'm sure he realizes he'll have to be realistic."

In 16 seasons, Brown has 1,070 receptions for 14,734 yards and 99 touchdowns.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.