The forgotten NFC South HOF candidate

With the voting for the 2011 class of Pro Football Hall of Fame members coming up Saturday, we previously have talked about Willie Roaf and Deion Sanders as the NFC South candidates.

Even that’s not entirely true. Roaf spent time with Kansas City at the end of his career. But he spent the bulk of his career with New Orleans, so he’s typically viewed as a Saint. Sanders bounced around quite a bit and might have had a higher profile in stretches with Dallas and San Francisco, but he spent a good chunk of his career in Atlanta, so a lot of people will view him as a Falcon.

But there’s one other guy who played in the NFC South that we haven’t talked about here who has a real chance to get in. That’s wide receiver Tim Brown. Yes, he really did play in the NFC South and unlike Roaf and Sanders, he actually played in the division after it came into existence. Roaf left New Orleans for Kansas City in 2002, the year the NFC South started, and Sanders’ time in Atlanta was long before divisional realignment.

But Brown played for Tampa Bay in 2004, the last year of his career. He spent the rest of his career with the Raiders and came to Tampa Bay to finish up with former Oakland coach Jon Gruden.

Brown didn’t do much in that season with the Bucs. He appeared in 15 games, started four, made 24 catches for 200 yards and a touchdown. If he goes in, you won’t view him as Tampa Bay’s second Hall of Famer after Lee Roy Selmon. It’s kind of the same thing as Steve Young, who spent a couple years with the Bucs early in his career, not being considered a true Tampa Bay guy.

The next real Hall of Famer from the Bucs will be either Derrick Brooks or Warren Sapp. But Brown could at least give the Bucs a sliver of representation in the Hall of Fame.