FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Last month, former NFL player Terrell Owens released a statement saying that he would NOT be attending his induction ceremony into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August. It was an unprecedented move from a polarizing athlete.
Owens released another statement on Tuesday, telling his fans where he WILL be during the ceremony. As it turns out, the former professional wide receiver is heading back to his alma mater — the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Owens promised to give a speech at the school’s McKenzie Arena at 3:17 p.m. on Saturday, August 4.
The event is free and open to the public.
“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,” Owens said in his statement. He left the school in 1996 as a third-round pick in the NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers.
“I’m proud to be a Moc, and I’m honored to be able 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,” Owens continued. “Thank you to everyone who has supported my celebration decision.”
Owens closed his statement with his now trademark, “Getcha popcorn ready!”
The former NFL player was voted into the Hall of Fame in February after being denied in his first two years of eligibility. In a statement made back in June, Owens said, “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.”
Owens criticized the Hall of Fame voting process after not being selected in 2016, and again in 2017.
“We are disappointed, but will respect Terrell’s decision not to participate in the enshrinement,” said Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker. The Class of 2018 also includes Bobby Beathard, Jerry Kramer, Brian Dawkins, Robert Brazile, Randy Moss, Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher.
During his career, Owens also played with the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals. He ranks second to Jerry Rice with 15,934 yards receiving, and is third on the all-time touchdowns receiving list with 153. But he was also considered a divisive teammate and negative presence in the locker room.
“I am thankful for the relationships forged and the lessons learned while part of each team,” Owens added in his statement from last month. “I wish to congratulate all past, current and future inductees. It is quite an honor to be part of such elite company. This honor is something that I will cherish forever.”