Terrell Owens, who started his career in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers before stints with the Eagles, Cowboys, Bills, Bengals, and Seahawks, achieved something everyone who puts their pads on and takes the field dreams of – he was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This is a day when the accomplishments of a great career are put on display for fans and peers to appreciate and applaud. It is the day when a player is recognized as one of the greatest to take to the gridiron. The induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio, is considered sacred by most members of the NFL, players, and executives alike. For fans, it is a day with the stars.
That all goes out the window, however, if your name is Terrell Owens and you feel slighted by not being inducted on the first ballot you appeared on. According to USA Today, after failing to be enshrined after a mere two years on the ballot, Owens became an outspoken critic of the voting process and HOF itself. While many commentators alleged that voting members had alluded to Owens not making the HOF on his first two ballots due to numerous problems on and off the field during his career, no one has stepped up to confirm it. It is, however, part of the criteria voters use when making their decision in addition to statistics, in all major sports.
Owens has instead decided that he will celebrate the day at his alma mater, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He will give a speech that is free to the public. No other ceremonies of events surrounding the speech have been announced. There is no estimate of how many people might attend.
NFL.com reported that executive director of the Professional Football HOF, Joe Horrigan, has stated that they will send Owens his gold jacket the morning of the ceremonies and that in Canton, there will be no individual mention of Owens at the ceremony or any associated events. He will be named as a member of the induction class, but that’s it.
“The focus is on the guys who are here. There’s no reason to bring him up as an individual, he’s not here.”
The rest of the class of ’18 is made up of Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, and Brian Urlacher. None has commented negatively, on the record, regarding Owens skipping the event.