Terrell Owens says he will not attend the induction ceremony for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August, an unprecedented decision by an enshrinee.
Owens was voted into the hall in February. In a statement released Thursday by his publicist, Owens says:
“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.
Owens heavily criticized the voting process when he failed to be elected to the hall in his first two years of eligibility.
According to NFL.com, Owens played 15 seasons in the NFL recording 1,078 catches for 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns in 219 games played. He was selected for induction in his third year of eligibility.
The decision to decline the invitation and not attend his own induction ceremony is unprecedented.
“We are disappointed by will respect Terrell’s decision not to participate in the Enshrinement,” Pro Football Hall of Fame president and 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.
“As we do not want to detract from this great honor being enjoyed by the seven other members of the Class of 2018 (Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss and Brian Urlacher), their family, friends, and fans; the Pro Football Hall of Fame will have no further comment on the decision made by Terrell Owens.”
Associated Press contributed to this story.