The NFL Hall of Fame will be having its enshrinement ceremony Saturday, August 4th, but one of the inductees won’t be present. Former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens announced he will not be attending the ceremony, instead choosing to give his speech at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Naturally, this has garnered a polarizing response. Owens has always marched to the beat of his own drum, so something like this isn’t completely out of left field coming from him, but it is unprecedented.
Former 49ers front office executive Carmen Policy was on 95.7 The Game and was asked about Owens’ decision and went into great detail on what he thought of it, and how Eddie DeBartolo was weighing options on just getting Owens out there. I’ve transcribed the entire answer below:
I thought how sad. How very very sad and I felt very bad for Terrell. And I talked him after he was notified he was going to be inducted. And the player I talked to was humble, just upbeat about the the honor and talked about the early days of the 49ers. He had talked to Eddie DeBartolo and he said, “I miss you guys.” and you know this, that, and so forth.
We tried giving him some advice to just, “get some advice on how to handle this honor. Take it easy, don’t make quick decisions and moderate your comments.”
We were rooting for him. The problem is, with all the talent, with all the ability, with the drive that he had and the fight that he had, he never understood how to develop and maintain relationships. Every time a bridge was built he burned it. Every time there was some connection, there were some huge clippers used to cut it off. He finds himself on this small island with no access to it and no means to leave it and nothing connected to it. It’s terribly sad. I wish his life were different.
There was some effort being put together by some people to try and help out and bring a coalition of the teams that he played for, but he didn’t cooperate and the teams weren’t really sympathetic to the idea because of the nastiness that had existed due to the comments and the separations. There he is out there alone.
I know Eddie even talked about, “Maybe I should pick the guy up, bring him there. It doesn’t have to be a lot of fanfare, take care of him while he’s there. But I’m not connected to a team anymore. It’s almost as though I’m overstepping. If I were connected to the team, obviously he’d be front and center no matter what.”
It’s horribly sad. I think he’s just so alone out there.
The Hall of Fame made a decision to make little mention of Owens over induction weekend, an act that has come across as petty. Really all it’s done is give water to Owens’ case about not wanting to go to the Hall. Regardless, it will be interesting what Owens will be saying a few years from now about all of this and if any former players will follow in his footsteps in electing not to attend the ceremony.