Terrell Owens will likely deliver the first Hall of Fame speech of the 2018 class.
It just won't be made in Canton, Ohio, however.
Instead, T.O. will have a celebration of his own on the same day as the Pro Football Hall of Fame's induction ceremony.
The former Eagle on Tuesday revealed that he will give his Hall of Fame speech at his alma mater, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, on Aug 4. The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at McKenzie Arena and kicks off at 3:17 p.m., a handful of hours before the ceremony in Canton begins.
🗣🎤🧥🏈🍿😎 pic.twitter.com/SMz2KlZwzz— Terrell Owens (@terrellowens) July 3, 2018
Owens announced in June he wouldn't be attending the Hall of Fame's induction ceremony.
"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," Owens said in a 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."
That elsewhere will be at the university Owens played three seasons before being selected by the 49ers in the third round of 1996 draft. Playing for five different franchises over his 15-year NFL career, Owens racked up the second-most receiving yards (15,934) and third-most receiving touchdowns (153) of all time en route to being a second-ballot Hall of Famer.
“We are disappointed but will respect Terrell’s decision not to participate in the Enshrinement,” Hall of Fame president David Baker said in a statement after Owens declined his invitation to the ceremony. “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.”
But Eagles fans making the trip up to Canton will still see a former Bird, as Brian Dawkins is set to be enshrined. Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Brian Urlacher, Bobby Beathard, Jerry Kramer and Robert Brazile are the other members of the 2018 class.