Pro Football Hall of Famer Rod Woodson said Terrell Owens is missing an opportunity to publicly thank those who helped him reach such lofty heights with his NFL career.
Owens has come under fire after publicly declining his invitation to be part of the Class of 2018 in Canton, Ohio. The 44-year-old released a statement earlier this month that he planned to “celebrate what will be one of the most memorable days of my life, elsewhere.”
Woodson said on NFL Network that the most important part of his own Hall of Fame speech in 2009 was acknowledging the people who helped him on his path. The 53-year-old said Owens owes it to those people to show up in Canton on Aug. 4.
“I really don’t care if he comes or not,” Woodson said. “But what bothers me more than anything is that in T.O.’s life, he’s had different things that happened to him in his life, but there’s people who helped him come along through his childhood, high school, college, to get to the point where he’s at to be one of the better players to ever play in the National Football League … you can be there to acknowledge them. And they lose out, because he’s thinking, It’s all about T.O.
“For all those people who helped him, for him not to acknowledge them to the public, it’s a shame.”
Woodson was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1993 and an 11-time Pro Bowl selection. He played 17 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders.
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.
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.