Former NFL wide receiver and Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018 member Terrell Owens addressed criticisms of his decision not to attend the induction ceremony and comments his agent made about him trying to resume his playing career speaking on the red carpet before the ESPYs on Wednesday.
Since announcing in June that he will give his Hall of Fame induction speech at his alma mater — Tennessee-Chattanooga — rather than at the Hall in Canton, Ohio, Owens has received plenty of criticism that he is making the Hall and the Aug. 4 ceremony about himself rather than all the inductees.
When he first announced his decision, Owens said through a statement, “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.
“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.”
After failing to get in last year, Owens said he had “lost all respect” for the Hall and the selection process. On Wednesday, he told ESPN, “It’s always unfortunate and people have a lot to say when someone does something different, but what I’m doing is not wrong.”
“For me I think, overall, everybody’s obviously wondering what went into my decision. I think John Wooden said it best: ‘Be more concerned about your character than your reputation.’ I think what the noise is right now is more about my reputation than my actual character,” he added. “They’re making the narrative more so about me offending the Hall of Famers, and that has nothing to do with it. I respect all of those Hall of Famers that have gone in before me and going in with me and after me. It has nothing to do with those Hall of Famers.”
As for resuming his career, that came up when Owens’ agent said Tuesday that the 44-year-old “100-percent” wants to play professionally again. More specifically, Jason Staroszik said, “ wants to play in the NFL, but if he can’t, the [Canadian Football League] is the next-best option.”
Owens told ESPN, “I know that I do have the ability to play. I know everybody sees the shape that I’m in. There’s a lot of athletes that play their prospective sports, but there are few guys that defy the odds. I think I’m one of those guys.”
“It’s unfortunate that I haven’t been able to continue my career, but again, I’m not actively seeking to get into the NFL,” he continued. “But again, if there’s an opportunity for me to play, then yeah, I will entertain that, as well as the CFL. ... If it happens, it happens, but if it doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world.”
—Field Level Media