Record number of Hall of Famers expected for induction
Apparently, Terrell Owens' absence at next month's Hall-of-Fame induction won't deter his new teammates from attending the ceremony. In fact, it's quite the opposite.
According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a record number of Gold Jackets are expected in Canton for Enshrinement Week, which is highlighted by the 2018 induction ceremony on Saturday evening, Aug. 4.
"Gold Jackets" is a term for living Hall of Famers, and among those expected back at Canton are Dick Butkus, Paul Warfield, Emmitt Smith, Joe Greene, Derrick Brooks, Cris Carter, Bruce Smith, Shannon Sharpe, Jerome Bettis, Jerry Jones, Claude Humphrey, Sonny Jurgensen, Paul Hornung, Terrell Davis, Art Monk, Bob Lilly, Dan Marino, Jonathan Ogden and Dan Fouts.
In addition, family members of deceased Hall of Famers like Buck Buchanan, Deacon Jones and Bronko Nagurski are also expected to be in attendance. The Hall said nearly 140 Hall of Famers will be represented.
"It is extraordinary that our Hall of Famers return in such great numbers to help celebrate this great game in the place where it began," said Hall-of-Fame president and CEO David Baker in a prepared statement "We look forward to honoring these heroes of our game who epitomize the best virtues and values that the game teaches."
Owens is one of the eight members of the Class of 2018 -- a group that includes modern-era inductees Brian Dawkins, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Brian Urlacher, as well as Owens; seniors Jerry Kramer and Robert Brazile and contributor Bobby Beathard -- but Owens is the only one not to appear for the induction or the Friday night Gold Jacket dinner.
In fact, he's the only living inductee in Pro Football Hall-of-Fame history to skip his own ceremony. Instead, he plans to make his acceptance speech at his alma mater, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and will do it on Aug. 4, hours before the ceremony in Canton.
The Hall, meanwhile, has said that it will honor Owens' wish not to be included in the ceremony and will not mention him individually during that night's celebration. However, it will when the entire Class of 2018 is recognized.