OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Tim Brown signed a one-day contract and retired with the Oakland Raiders on Monday, gracefully ending his 17-year career as one of the NFL’s most prolific receivers.

Brown, the Heisman Trophy winner at Notre Dame in 1987, spent his first 16 seasons with the Raiders in Los Angeles and Oakland, becoming the self-proclaimed “Mr. Raider.” He spent last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after refusing to accept a tiny role with Oakland, but he always intended to finish his playing career in silver and black.

That phase might involve NASCAR. Brown, a Dallas native with no background in auto racing, used his retirement to announce plans to partner with Roush Racing on a NASCAR team based in Charlotte, N.C., and to begin competition next year.

If the venture gets off the ground, Brown would become the first black majority owner of a NASCAR team.

“It’s going to be a big deal to try and get accomplished, but I think it’s going to be great to try,” said Brown, who said he was approached by Roush Racing for the job. “Obviously there’s a diversity issue that needs to be addressed (in NASCAR). They thought I was a good guy to do it.”

Brown had 1,070 receptions for 14,734 yards and 99 touchdowns with the Raiders, who released him last August. Reuniting with former Raiders coach Jon Gruden with the Buccaneers, Brown had just 24 catches for 200 yards and one touchdown last season.

Brown is tied with Steve Largent for third on the NFL’s career touchdown catches list, and only former Oakland teammate Jerry Rice has more career yards receiving. His 1,094 career catches rank third in NFL history.

The Raiders said owner Al Davis couldn’t attend the ceremony at a hotel near the Raiders’ training complex because of scheduling conflicts, but chief executive Amy Trask was on hand to present Brown’s ceremonial contract.

Brown and Davis had an uncommonly close relationship, but it seemed to be strained when Brown reunited with Gruden and former Raiders executive Bruce Allen in Tampa Bay.

“I don’t think they like the fact that I went to Jon Gruden and Bruce, but I was unemployed,” Brown said with a grin. “I needed a job. What was I to do? Mr. Davis and I, we’ve had our cross words, but I think there’s a mutual respect.”

Raiders receiver Jerry Porter and former teammates Lincoln Kennedy and Chester McGlockton attended the event – and so did Marcus Allen, the Hall of Fame running back whose career with the Raiders ended with a nasty public dispute and a rift with Davis that still hasn’t healed.

Rich Gannon, Oakland’s quarterback during Brown’s only Super Bowl season in 2002, didn’t attend. Gannon and Brown were at a celebrity golf tournament in the Lake Tahoe area last weekend, when Brown sought advice from retired superstars including John Elway, Michael Jordan, Dan Marino and Charles Barkley.

“They said to enjoy your retirement, but keep yourself busy,” Brown said. “When you’re used to being in the locker room every day, it can take a toll on you.”

That shouldn’t be difficult for Brown, who’s in talks with Fox and Sirius satellite radio for broadcasting jobs. He also plans to remain active in charity work.

AP-ES-07-18-05 1707EDT

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