NFL great Terrell Owens said he won’t attend his induction ceremony to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August, but didn’t explain why.
Owens said in a statement posted Thursday on Twitter that he is “incredibly appreciative of this opportunity,” but “made the decision to publicly decline my invitation to attend the induction ceremony” in Canton, Ohio.
Owens, a wide receiver who played in the NFL from 1996 to 2012, said he reached the decision a few months ago after a visit to the Hall of Fame.
“I came to the realization that I wish to celebrate what will be one of the most memorable days of my life, elsewhere,” he said of the Aug. 4 Hall of Fame ceremony.
Owens said he will announce the “where and when” of his plans to celebrate the day later.
Hall of Fame president David Baker said the organization will hold the induction ceremony without Owens. The induction also includes gridiron greats like linebacker Ray Lewis, wide receiver Randy Moss, and linebacker Brian Urlacher.
“We are disappointed but will respect Terrell’s decision not to participate in the enshrinement,” Baker told ESPN.com. “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.”
The New York Daily News points out that Owens’ decision may be a petulent response to being declined Hall of Fame entry the first two years he was eligible.
Last year, the 44-year-old Owens broke the news before the Hall of Fame’s announcement that he hadn’t made the cut, tweeting, “HOF is a total joke. Honestly, doesn’t mean anything to me to get in beyond this point.”
In a 15-year career with the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, Owens caught 1,078 catches for 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns in 219 games played, according to NFL.com.