Terrell Owens never shied away from being an individual during his NFL career, and it’s still the case in his post-football life. The former NFL receiver announced he’ll skip the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony in August and instead celebrate elsewhere.
“While I am incredibly appreciative of this opportunity, I have made the decision to publicly decline my invitation to attend the induction ceremony in Canton,” Owens said in a statement. “I have already shared this information with the hall. After visiting Canton earlier this year, I came to the realization that I wish to celebrate what will be one of the most memorable days of my life, elsewhere. At a later date, I will announce where and when I will celebrate my induction.
“I wish to congratulate all past, current, and future inductees. It is quite an honor to be part of such elite company. This honor is something that I will cherish forever.”
On July 3, Owens announced he would hold his ceremony — speech included — at his alma mater, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
It’s unclear if Owens is the first player to ever skip the ceremony — several players and contributors have been inducted posthumously before — but Pro Football Hall of Fame CEO David Baker called it an “unprecedented” decision.
Hall of Fame CEO David Baker: “We are disappointed but will respect Terrell’s decision not to participate in the Enshrinement. While unprecedented, the (HOF), the nearly 5,000 volunteers and the entire community are committed to celebrating the excellence of the Class of 2018.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 7, 2018
Owens was snubbed multiple times by Hall of Fame voters, and tweeted about his frustration when he wasn’t selection in 2017.
HOF is a total joke. Honestly, doesn't mean anything to me to get in beyond this point. https://t.co/wJJ8vVSp9d— Terrell Owens (@terrellowens) February 5, 2017
When the Hall of Fame made its selections for the Class of 2018, and did the traditional knock on the hotel room doors of inductees, Owens wasn’t in attendance. Instead, he left to play in a basketball game in Los Angeles.
Terrell Owens to me via text when I asked him for HOF quote: Can’t. Headed to basketball game. Plus Nothing else to say.— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) February 3, 2018
Owens is now more than seven years removed from his last NFL game, but he’s never too far from the spotlight and always makes things interesting. In May, he was announced as the cover athlete for Madden NFL 19: Hall of Fame Edition and has spent part of June lobbying for the 49ers to sign him for the veteran minimum.
Even with Owens not making the trip, there won’t be a shortage of personality on the stage in Canton in August. The Class of 2018 has seven other members — Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, and Brian Urlacher — and the group should make for an entertaining ceremony.
Owens’ solo ceremony, which will be open to the public, likely will be too.