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Booing fans are ignorant, Brown says

"It's sad because you know they don't understand the game," the receiver and punt returner says.

ROGER MILLS
Published October 25, 2004

TAMPA - When you've played 17 seasons, you've heard boos before and you've likely learned to dispatch them. But Bucs receiver Tim Brown said Sunday that was the first time he has been booed by his home fans.

"I was actually laughing," Brown said. "It's sad because you know they don't understand the game. They don't understand what's happening. It's also sad that if they really care about the team and had rattled me, that would have hurt the team. But you have to click your mind and say if they are going to treat you like a visitor, then be a visitor. Don't get caught up in that stuff."

As the punt returner, Brown was met with boos every time he called for a fair catch, including one at the 7. The crowd also booed when Brown didn't field a punt that was downed at the 4.

Brown, who said fans still think of him as a Raider, said his first job is avoiding a turnover.

"I'm back there to secure the ball," he said. "If the fans want to boo that, they can boo it all day. It's not going to affect how I play the game. I feel bad for my wife, having to hear (the booing). I understand I'm not a favorite. That's just the way it is."

The Bucs average 5.5 yards on punt returns with a long of 14. They have tried receivers Bill Schroeder and Michael Clayton and appear to have settled, for now, on Brown, who has 12 fair catches and 48 yards on six returns.

"I'm not out there returning punts for my health, that's for sure," Brown said. "If there was anybody else on the team that could do it, believe me, they would be out there. But at this particular point, with (Joey) Galloway out and a couple of other guys being down, there's nobody else.

"I'm out there making the best decisions to make sure we have the ball. (Twice when) I got booed, we ended up scoring. And that's the name of the game."

Brown returned two punts for 14 yards and called three fair catches. One fair catch preceded the 93-yard touchdown drive, and the Bucs drove for a field goal after the punt downed at the 4.

"Guys on the sideline, guys in this locker room know what I'm going to do," he said. "It's not like I went up to (coach Jon Gruden) and begged him to return punts. I was the last man on the roster who could do it.'"

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