Hall of Fame wide receiver Tim Brown dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Tuesday to discuss numerous topics, including Cam Newton, the Super Bowl and Calvin Johnson’s reported retirement.
We’ll start with Calvin.
“Because you know how difficult the game is, if somebody’s heart is not into it, the best thing for them to do is get away,” Brown said on Tiki and Tierney. “Because you’re only going to hurt yourself or the team or something bad is going to happen. So you have to respect it from that standpoint because you look how talented this kid is and you go, ‘Wow, for him to step away must really mean he is done.’”
Johnson, 30, holds the record for most receiving yards in a season (1,964) and has been one of the top wideouts in the game over the last decade. Still, he ranks outside the top 20 all-time in yards and touchdowns and outside of the top 40 in receptions.
“Ten or 15 years from now, he’s going to regret (retiring) like nobody’s business,” said Brown, who played 16 years in the NFL. “He has a chance to etch his name into the history of the NFL, and you’ll never get that chance again. When you look at Calvin, because everybody believes he has so much talent left, people believe he has a lot more to give.”
Brown was also asked about this year’s Hall of Fame finalists, which include Marvin Harrison and Terrell Owens. Brown believes Harrison has a better chance of getting in than Owens – at least this year.
“The way I understand the process to be, especially when they look at the receivers, there’s not going to be a receiver that goes in first-ballot in honor of Jerry Rice,” Brown said. “So I don’t think they’re going to do it (with Owens). But if they do that now, you put Marvin Harrison in position where, with Randy Moss coming up next year, what happens now? So now that slippery slope thing starts to happen with him and that could be problematic. I think if they’re going to put a receiver in this year, I think it will be Marvin. It’s going to be a tough year, though, when you look at some of the names on the list. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.”
Speaking of receivers, it’s been amazing to see how much Cam Newton has done with so little. Only two Carolina pass catchers – Greg Olsen (77) and Ted Ginn Jr. (44) – finished with at least 40 catches. Only one, Olsen (1,104), finished with more than 750 receiving yards.
“It’s the stuff MVPs are made of,” Brown said of Newton. “That’s why the kid should win MVP and I’m sure he will. No disrespect to (Corey) Brown, to (Jerricho) Cotchery and to Ginn and certainty to Greg Olsen, who is playing quite well for them. But when you look around the league, I’m sure if (Newton) had his pick of receivers, he probably would pick a couple other guys.”
Case in point: Ginn had 10 touchdown receptions this season. He had 11 in his first eight seasons combined.
“It’s incredible, man,” Brown said. “That shows you that the quarterback is doing incredible stuff.”
Of course, Peyton Manning is doing some incredible stuff, too. After a subpar showing in the regular season, Manning returned in the final game of the regular season to lead the Broncos to the No. 1 seed in the AFC, and now, the Super Bowl.
Which would be the better story: Manning winning a second ring and walking off into the sunset, or Newton winning his first Super Bowl?
“I think for me, the bigger story probably would be Peyton walking away, swan song on the pony with winning a championship,” Brown said. “But this kid Cam Newton is really changing the way people are looking at the quarterback position. I don’t think you’ve seen a quarterback with this kind of flair, swag – whatever you want to call it – to play in the game. And if he wins it, you can only imagine what he’s going to do and say.”
When asked to assess Manning’s play right now, Brown said that the 39-year-old is still “definitely” more of an asset than a liability.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that Brock (Osweiler) probably has better physical skills at this point,” Brown said, “but when you watch the way Peyton came in that game (against San Diego) when he took over for Brock and how mentally he got everybody on the same page – there’s something about his presence, man. I think when certain guys are in the huddle, you feel better. You feel more comfortable. That’s what it’s all about. To get guys on the same page and do what you have to do to win a championship is an amazing thing.”