This February, after two years of being denied, Terrell Owens was finally named to the Hall of Fame. The enshrinement ceremony will take place on Aug. 4 in Canton, Ohio, and as is customary, the ceremony will feature speeches by those being inducted.
Except that Owens announced Thursday that he would not attend the event, a development that caught everyone off guard.
“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.”
Hall of Fame voter and former New York Daily News columnist Gary Myers said that he wouldn’t have voted for Owens had he known the mercurial wide receiver wasn’t going to attend the enshrinement ceremony.
“Terrell Owens informed Pro Football HOF he’s not attending induction ceremony,” Myers wrote Thursday in a tweet that has since been deleted, according to Pro Football Talk. “Unprecedented. Classy guy. If I knew he would not show up, I would have voted for somebody who would have. T.O was not happy it took until third year to get in. Don’t know reason he’s not showing up.”
In Feb. 2016, Myers.
“I’ll take you inside the room on this, and it was the second-longest discussion we had in the room other than Eddie DeBartolo,” Myers told The Dan Patrick Show. “The bottom line on T.O. is he was so disruptive. Now with [Lawrence Taylor], you don’t count the off-the-field stuff. That’s a mandate from the Hall of Fame. It’s only what you’ve done on the field. The argument that was made in the room, and I agree with this, is what T.O. did in the locker room is part of –”
“That counts?” guest host Ross Tucker asked at the time. “Why don’t you just evaluate what’s inside the white lines?”
“Because I think that the locker room is an extension of that,” Myers said.
“But how do you really know what happened in the locker room?” Tucker countered.
Myers: “But he tore teams apart.”
Tucker: “But how do you really know that?”
“He’s a Hall of Fame player that five teams couldn’t wait to get rid of,” Myers continued. “So what does that tell you about how disruptive he was?”
Owens last played in the NFL in 2010, when he caught 72 passes for 983 yards and nine touchdowns. But in February 2012, Owens talked about the perception that he was disruptive.
“The last two or three years relatively I was quiet, knowing that everybody was saying that I had a character issue, I’m disruptive, there’s a lot of hype that comes with me, they’re saying I’m a distraction here and there,” Owens told KESN-FM at the time.
“That’s all hearsay,” he said. “If you ask a bunch of my teammates, a lot of it is basically blown out of proportion, the media making me into a fall guy. Overall, will I ever admit that I was a bad teammate? Never. I wasn’t a bad teammate. Was I disruptive? No, I wasn’t disruptive.”
Disruptive or not, Owens won’t be in Canton to celebrate his Hall of Fame induction with the ’18 class that includes Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Brian Urlacher, Brian Dawkins, Bobby Beathard, Jerry Kramer and Robert Brazile.