Terrell Owens publicly declined his invitation to attend the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony on Aug. 4 in Canton, Ohio.
“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,” the 44-year-old Owens said in the 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 would also like to thank the San Francisco 49ers, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Dallas Cowboys, the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals for the time I was granted with each organization. I am thankful for the relationships forged and the lessons learned while part of each team.”
A finalist for the past three years, Owens was selected for enshrinement in the Class of 2018 along with linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, wide receiver Randy Moss and safety Brian Dawkins. They will be joined by Bobby Beathard (contributor) and seniors committee nominees Jerry Kramer and Robert Brazile.
“I wish to congratulate all past, current and future inductees,” Owens said in the statement. “It is quite an honor to be part of such elite company. This honor is something that I will cherish forever.”
Pro Football Hall of Fame CEO David Baker described Owens’ decision as “unprecedented.”
“We are disappointed but will respect Terrell’s decision not to participate in the Enshrinement,” 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.
“As we do not want to detract from this great honor being enjoyed by the seven other members of the Class of 2018 (Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss and Brian Urlacher), their family, friends, and fans; the Pro Football Hall of Fame will have no further comment on the decision made by Terrell Owens.”
Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter took a swipe at Owens’ decision via social media.
“Terrell isn’t going to be enshrined in Canton, I’m even more excited to attend the PFHOF weekend now,” Carter wrote on his Twitter account.
Owens was scheduled to be presented by former wide receivers coach George Stewart during the enshrinement ceremony.
Although he gained much notoriety for on-field antics and clashes with teammates and coaches, Owens put up sparkling numbers during his 16 NFL seasons.
A six-time Pro Bowl selection, Owens resides second in career receiving yards (15,934), third in receiving touchdowns (153) and eighth in receptions with 1,078. He had a spectacular, three-year stretch (2000-02) in which he caught 290 passes for 4,163 yards and 42 touchdowns.
Although he will not be in attendance in Canton, Owens will the headliner of the Madden NFL 19: Hall of Fame edition, which will be released on Aug. 7 — three days after the ceremonies.
Owens is depicted in a Cowboys uniform on the cover.