Owens made the unprecedented decision to skip the Aug. 4 induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio, making him the first inductee to boycott the event. He will not be introduced during the Gold Jacket ceremony the night before the induction or in the nationally-televised induction itself.
“The focus is on the guys who are here,” Hall of Fame executive director Joe Horrigan said in an interview with the Talk of Fame Network.
Owens’ decision to skip the induction ceremony also delays the receipt of his gold jacket. Normally, it is placed on the inductee’s shoulders during the Gold Jacket dinner. Instead, Owens’ gold jacket will be mailed to him first thing on the morning of the induction ceremony.
In lieu of attending the induction ceremony, Owens plans to host his own ceremony at his alma mater: the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Owens’ ceremony is scheduled to begin at 3:17 PM EDT, more than three hours before the induction ceremony in Canton is scheduled to begin. It is free and open to the public.
Owens was one of the most dominant wide receivers in NFL history. His 1,078 receptions rank eighth all-time while his 15,934 receiving yards rank second and 153 receiving touchdowns rank third.
He was extremely critical of the voting process after he was denied entry in his first two years of eligibility. Critics contend he was kept out the Hall of Fame due to some perceived bad behavior during his 15-year NFL career.
Despite his absence at the induction, Owens’ name will still be mentioned as a member of The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018 when the entire class is the subject. He will be featured in pictures of the Class of 2018 and will have his bust in Canton along with the other all-time greats. It is only his name that won’t be mentioned.
“There is no reason to bring him up as an individual. He’s not here,” Horrigan said.
Besides Owens, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018 includes former front office executive Bobby Beathard, linebacker Robert Brazile, defensive back Brian Dawkins, offensive lineman Jerry Kramer (who had to wait 45 years for induction), linebacker Ray Lewis, wide receiver Randy Moss, and linebacker Brian Urlacher.
– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.