Terrell Owens

Terrell Owens describes Hall of Fame election as 'bittersweet'

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AP

Terrell Owens describes Hall of Fame election as 'bittersweet'

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.”

Terrell Owens declines invitation to Hall of Fame induction ceremony

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Terrell Owens declines invitation to Hall of Fame induction ceremony

EDITOR'S NOTE: Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee. He was assigned the responsibility of opening the discussion of Owens when the 48-person committee met on the eve of Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis.

Terrell Owens, who was elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his third year of eligibility, announced Thursday he will not attend the induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio.

Owens wrote in a statement posted on his official website that he decided during a visit earlier this year to the Hall of Fame that he wanted to celebrate elsewhere. He wrote he would announce when and where he would choose to hold his personal celebration.

The selection committee consists of 48 members of the media, including two members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Dan Fouts and James Lofton.

Owens, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, ranks second in all-time receiving yards (15,934), third in receiving touchdowns (153) and eighth in receptions (1,078). He played 13 NFL seasons. Owens likely did not receive the number of votes necessary in his first two years of eligibility due to the belief among some voters that he was a divisive influence in the locker room on the five teams for which he played.

Owens played his first eight seasons with the 49ers before moving on to Philadelphia, Dallas, Buffalo and Cincinnati. Former 49ers assistant coach George Stewart was scheduled to be his presenter at the induction ceremony.

“We are disappointed but will respect Terrell’s decision not to participate in the Enshrinement,” Hall of Fame President & CEO David 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.”

Owens was among a class of eight individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame, a list that also includes Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss and Brian Urlacher.

“As we do not want to detract from this great honor being enjoyed by the seven other members of the Class of 2018, their family, friends, and fans; the Pro Football Hall of Fame will have no further comment on the decision made by Terrell Owens.”

Here is Owens’ official statement:

I am so grateful for all of the support my family, friends, and certainly my fans, have shown me throughout my entire career in the National Football League. When it was announced that I was going to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the response received from my fans was overwhelming, and I am truly humbled. I am honored to be included among this group of fellow inducted individuals.

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. 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.

I wish to congratulate all past, current and future inductees. It is quite an honor to be part of such elite company. This honor is something that I will cherish forever.

Sincerely,
Terrell Owens

 

Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter

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Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter

Terrell Owens has selected former 49ers special teams and wide receivers coach George Stewart as his presenter into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“He knew what to get out of me,” Owens told the Hall of Fame.

“He knows who I am. To know who Terrell Owens is, you have to spend some time with him. . . George Stewart became a father figure to me.”

Owens was elected into the Hall of Fame in February. He will enter the Hall of Fame in a class that also includes wide receiver Randy Moss, linebackers Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher and Robert Brazile, safety Brian Dawkins, guard Jerry Kramer, and contributor Bobby Beathard.

Owens played special teams under Stewart’s direction as a rookie after coming to the 49ers in 1996.

From 2000 to ’02, Stewart worked as the 49ers’ wide receivers coach. Owens was selected to three consecutive All-Pro teams and Pro Bowls during that time. Owens ranks No. 2 all time behind Jerry Rice with 15,934 receiving yards. He is third all-time with 153 receiving touchdowns.

Stewart is set to enter his 30th NFL season as an assistant coach and his second as special-teams coordinator of the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Class of 2018 will be enshrined inside Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday, Aug. 4.