December6 , 2022

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    On the field and in life, legendary NFL Hall of Famer, Tim Brown has encountered many situations that have made him the man he is today. As Tim quickly achieved athletic success, he learned he had to work harder off the field to the live a life of honor and integrity that he wrote about in his book The Making of a Man.

    Raised in a family of six, Tim remembers fondly much of his childhood spent attending church. He didn’t know it at the time, but the lessons from his church upbringing would later become his strongest foundation.

    “When you grow up in church, you see the world from a different perspective. The older I got, I was exposed to other things and eventually got away from some of the values I had been taught,” Tim told SoCal Christian Voice. “But all along, I certainly held on to what I’d been taught, and it seemed I had constant reminders.”

    Editor, Beckie Lindsey with Scott Lindsey and Tim Brown

    Tim goes on to share one such incident when he was eighteen while swimming in the ocean in Hawaii.

    “As I like to say, a thought was dropped in my spirit while I sat there on the beach. I heard as clear as day, ‘just like you got too far out in the water—you can get far away spiritually.’”

    Not long after the foretelling beach experience, Tim’s excellence on the football team at Woodrow High school in Dallas, TX drew the attention of college recruiters and he was picked up by Notre Dame where he played from 1984-1987.

    “But all along, I certainly held on to what I’d been taught in church, and it seemed I had constant reminders.”

    When legendary coach Lou Holtz told Tim that he might be the best football player that Holtz had ever seen, Tim went on to make the College Football All-American Team twice and in 1987 was the first wide receiver to ever win the Heisman Trophy. Then in 1988, the Los Angeles Raiders used the sixth pick in the first round of the NFL Draft to select Tim.

    As Tim’s success increased, so did the struggles off the field. He was faced with many temptations. Tim fathered a child out of wedlock with a girlfriend. Although he provided for the mother and child, he was unable to make the relationship work with his girlfriend. He continued sleeping around with other girls, which only increased the distance between him and God.

    Even during these years, Tim said he was still reminded of the values he grew up with, but it was a four-year process before he made up his mind to turn his life over to God.

    “There were several people that influenced me. But I had one encounter with a very famous person who got me alone and said, ‘young brother, I don’t know you. But I feel your spirit. I just want you to know that it’s not worth it. All the things you’re trying to do right now, it’s not worth it because I believe you know what you’ve been called to do.”

    It was at this point in 1996 that God had Tim’s full attention. He made the decision to do what he knew he had been called to do all along: Be a true man of God.

    “I realize that in a strange way, God was using football to help me bring guys to Christ.”

    “He was not just calling me to know a little of the Bible and talk about it here and there. God was calling me to live it out on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “But now I had to go back to the NFL locker room.” Tim chuckled before he continues. “There was a lot of crazy stuff that came in there, and half of it, I may have brought in myself.”

    Tim knew as he continued to play for the Raiders, he needed to be careful in his approach to sharing his life-transforming experience. It was a gradual process and there was some initial push-back in the beginning. But he stood firm in his call from God.

    After a year-and-a-half, his teammates and friends began to see he was sincere and believed in how he was living. Slowly, he was approached by other players for advice on how he made the changes in his life.

    “I realize that in a strange way, God was using football to help me bring guys to Christ. One thing in an NFL locker room, I couldn’t just go in there thumping my Bible. I needed to play good football. You play great football and people want to hang around you which opened the opportunity for me to witness to them.”