CALGARY - To the rest of the three-down football community, he was a mystery man.
But even before B.C. Lions dynamo Tim Brown made a name for himself with a 97-yard punt return touchdown in the CFL’s regular-season opener at Montreal’s Percival Molson Stadium, he was already on Henry Burris’ radar.
Turns out, the former Temple University Owls standout still keeps a close eye on his old nest.
“(Brown) is from T.U. Yeah, he’s from Temple,” beamed Burris, the Calgary Stampeders’ star signal-caller and proud owner of almost every quarterbacking record at the Philadelphia-based university.
“Hey, we put out good players at Temple. He’s been another chapter and edition of the Temple Owls that do good things. He’s stepped up there and he’s done his thing, and I’m proud of him. I’m proud of an old alumnus getting out there and doing his thing.
“But, of course, he’s on the opposition this week, so hopefully he doesn’t. I’m more than confident that our guys can go out there and hold him at bay, but it’s going to be tough.”
Brown was named the CFL’s special teams player of the week after zig-zagging through a handful of Montreal Alouettes en route to a punt-return score in his CFL debut. He’ll get an opportunity for an encore during Friday’s date with the Stamps at Empire Field (8:30 p.m., TSN, QR77).
The 26-year-old from Stockton, Calif., also showed flashes of brilliance in a June 15 pre-season clash at McMahon Stadium, churning up 45 yards of turf on a kick return and adding 70 yards on seven punt returns.
“I haven’t talked to him a lot because he’s one of the younger guys, and I haven’t been able to get back to see many Temple games, but I watch from afar,” Burris said.
“I congratulated him after the pre-season game here and pretty much told him he made the team. But, hopefully, he’ll have a bad game this game.”
Burris spent four seasons at Temple from 1993-96 and still owns numerous school records, including most passing yardage (7,495) and touchdown strikes (49).
Brown wore Owls colours for two seasons, accounting for about one-third of Temple’s total offence in 2006 with 731 rushing yards and 218 yards through the air.
He’s found a football home with the Lions, who are counting on the pint-sized special-teamer to make fans forget the off-season arrest — and subsequent release — of Yonus Davis.
The Stamps had all sorts of problems stopping Davis last season, and Burris expects it’ll be tough to corral Brown, too.
“You’re gonna have to hit him a lot,” Burris said.
“He’s gonna play hard. The guy has a lot of heart, passion and drive. It’s just like any guy that comes out of Temple — we had to go through a lot while we were there. He’s a guy who’s going to play his heart out for 60 minutes, and whenever he gets an opportunity to make a play, he’s going to do everything he can to make that play happen.”