About a month ago, Terrell Owens informed the sports world that he would not attend this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio. Today, he revealed his plans.
Terrell Owens posted a letter on his Twitter account Tuesday announcing that he will be giving his Hall of Fame induction speech at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in McKenzie Arena on Saturday August 4.
Owens explained his thought process as follows:
“After giving it much thought I have realized just how much I want to celebrate what will inevitably be the best weekend of my life at a place that means so much to me. …I’m proud to be a Moc, and I’m honored to share this experience with my family, friends, teammates and fans at the place that provided me an opportunity beyond high school and where I truly began to find myself as an athlete. Thank you to everyone who has supported my celebration decision. I look forward to seeing you all in Chattanooga. Getcha popocorn ready!”
While at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Owens was a three-sport athlete and played football, basketball and ran track. On the gridiron, Owens recorded 144 catches for 2,320 yards and 19 touchdowns. He finished his career at UTC second all-time in receiving yards and touchdowns.
In 1993 Owens posted his most memorable performance as a MOC. He caught four-touchdown passes in a 33-31 victory over the number one ranked team at the time, Marshall.
The 15-year pro was heavily scrutinized for declining his invitation to the ceremony by many media members. Hall of Fame president David Baker also expressed how disappointed he was about Owens’ decision to not attend.
It was extremely evident that Owens was upset his big moment didn’t come earlier and prior to this announcement it was safe to assume that he was being a diva by not attending the ceremony.
Throughout Owens’ career he developed a terrible reputation, both for being a bad teammate and because of his antics on and off the field. Despite those claims, the numbers don’t lie. Owens recorded 1,078 receptions, 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns and should have been a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.
But it’s hard to get on him now for wanting to come back to the place that helped him develop into the player he became. Not to mention, the event is open to public and is free, which isn’t the case for the enshrinement ceremony in Canton.
Owens’ decision to not attend is unconventional; however, he could pave the way for future players to follow his footsteps. NFL players often give back to their alma mater, and this is a great opportunity for players to show their appreciation to the school and entire community. Without the support of the school, coaching staff and community, dreams of playing professionally could be crushed.
It may seem like Owens is putting himself ahead of others once again, but in reality he’s putting those that mean the most to him before himself and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.