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June 07, 2018

Terrell Owens says he's skipping his own Hall of Fame induction

It took former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens three years of ballot consideration to make his way into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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That is two snubs too many for Owens, who will now become the first player ever to skip his own enshrinement this August. 

Owens, statistically one the league's all-time great receivers, released a statement on Thursday explaining that he will make alternative arrangements for the special event.

The Hall of Fame selection committee twice overlooked Owens, who has fought the general perception that he wasn't always the easiest teammate to work with or player to coach. Owens also was at the center of internal disputes, fueled by contractual expectations, that seemingly ushered him out of San Francisco, Philadelphia and Dallas before he wrapped up his career with the Bills and Bengals. 

Owens went on the offensive against the Hall of Fame at the time, presenting his own case on TV while donning a custom gold jacket with his indisputably great stats printed on the back. 

The decision not to attend the enshrinement comes as something of a surprise. Owens had already selected former 49ers wide receivers coach George Stewart as his presenter. If that remains the plan, Stewart will be put in the awkward position of presenting a man who isn't there. 

In a Q&A with PhillyVoice's Matt Mullin earlier this year, Owens made clear that he was happy and honored to be recognized as one of the greatest ever to play the game. He also said he feels that the selection committee's process is overly personal and that something needs to change. 

So while everybody's happy, they're also fed up with the process, understanding that you're allowing guys in that have criminal records or sexual allegations and these things, it really taints and puts a black eye on what the Hall of Fame is supposed to be about. So, for me, you have an opinion about me, and that's why I hadn't gotten in? Because of hearsay? Because one or two guys, a coach or a player here and there, said that I was selfish or a bad teammate, when there's a number of guys that before me, after me, while I'm inducted, whatever, the same thing could've been said about them. 

The Pro Football Hall of Fame released a statement acknowledging Owens' decision but said there would be no further comment. 

"We are disappointed but will respect Terrell's decision not to participate in the enshrinement," Hall of Fame president David Baker said in a statement. "While unprecedented, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the nearly 5,000 volunteers and the entire community are committed to celebrating the excellence of the Class of 2018 that will kick off the NFL's 99th season."