Former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens said last week he will not be celebrating his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame with the other seven members of the Class of 2018 in Canton, Ohio.
Owens announced he made that decision following his visit to the Hall of Fame in March.
“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,” Owens said in a statement.
Two weeks after visiting Canton, Owens took part in an interview that was released Tuesday for the 49ers Insider Podcast. Owens was asked then about what he expected from the enshrinement weekend after visiting Canton.
“I don’t know,” Owens said on April 13. “I think understanding, and me going through the orientation and understanding the values in which (Hall of Fame president) David Baker expressed to us in terms of what the Hall of Fame represents and embodies. I took it all into consideration. I took the trip.
“So, again, I don’t know. I’m getting the situation, my road to the Hall of Fame, documented. So at some point it will come out. But this is a special moment, not only for myself, but for my family and the people that really helped me get to the point – I can say it now – to be one of the greatest receivers to ever play the game.”
The 48-member selection committee is comprised of media members. The group includes two members of the Hall of Fame: Dan Fouts and James Lofton, both of whom work as commentators during NFL games for CBS Sports.
Owens received word on the eve of Super Bowl 52 that he was elected in his third year of eligibility. Owens, a five-time first-team All-Pro selection, was picked to six Pro Bowls. He ranks second all-time in receiving yards; third in receiving touchdowns (fifth in touchdowns of any kind); and eighth in receptions.
“Honestly, I wasn’t really overjoyed about it,” Owens said. “I mean, I’ve seen the emotions of some of the other guys that have gotten the news to be inducted, and probably had it happened a couple years ago, maybe I would’ve felt the same way.
“But understanding the process and how unfair it is, again, for me it was bittersweet. The part that I’m happy about is the people who love me and truly understand who I am as a person, they no longer have to answer the questions and all these things and be disappointed. Over the last two to three years, fans alike, as well as my family, immediate family and coaches, they know I probably should’ve been – not probably – I should’ve been a first ballot, based on statistically where I was and where I am, based on the criteria to get in, and based on the bylaws."
Some voters expressed publicly that they voted for other finalists due to Owens’ reputation as a teammate. He played for five teams in his 15-year career. Owens objects to any questions about his character.
“I’m always going to defend my character based on how I was raised and who raised me, and that was my grandmother," Owens said. "So I think she did an amazing job, as far as raising me to be the man that I am today. When you think about some of the issues and some of the things that are plaguing a lot of the athletes and some of these things they’re doing, from domestic violence, DUIs, the sexual allegations, all the criminal records, you won’t find me in that category. So that’s why I’ve been so vocal about defending my character.”