FORT WORTH, Texas — Michael Irvin agrees with the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s decision not to acknowledge Terrell Owens individually during enshrinement weekend in Canton, Ohio, next month.
“We can’t spend this moment for all these other guys talking about the guy that is not here,” the Hall of Fame wide receiver said Saturday at the National Fantasy Football Convention. “You cannot do that and take that away. He’s doing his own thing wherever he’s doing his own thing, and God bless him. And when they mention the class they’ll mention him, but why should you steal those other guys’ moment because of the decision of this one?
“I think it’s the right move. They’re not saying he’s not going to have a bust in the room. They’re not saying he’s not getting his jacket. They’re saying, ‘We’re honoring his wish. He doesn’t want to be here with us, we’re going to mention him as little as possible.’ I think it’s the right move.”
Hall of Fame executive director Joe Horrigan told the Talk of Fame Sports Network of the decision Thursday. Horrigan said Owens’ name will be included when the whole class is announced, and his photograph will appear in materials about the weekend. The Hall will mail him his gold jacket, which is usually presented on Friday night, first thing Saturday morning.
Owens, meanwhile, previously said that instead of attending the ceremonies on Aug. 3-4, he will make his speech at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he went to college, on Aug. 4.
Irvin was inducted into the Hall of Fame after his third year on the ballot following a career that included three Super Bowl wins with the Dallas Cowboys. He finished with 750 catches, 11,904 yards and 65 touchdown catches. At the time of his retirement, he was the Cowboys’ all-time leader in catches and yards.
As for Owens, he was a finalist for the past three years, and had been critical of the board of selectors after he was not chosen in 2016 or 2017, his first two years of eligibility.
“I was disappointed that we will be cheated as a Hall of Fame team, one of our teammates, that he took that decision (to skip the ceremonies),” Irvin said. “Of course everybody says, ‘He has the right to make the decision.’ Yes, he does and we have the right to say we don’t like it. It is what it is. And I’m also disappointed because, you know, we fought for T.O. It wasn’t like T.O. had said that it didn’t matter, ‘I don’t care about being in the Hall,’ or, ‘I don’t care about that at all.’ Then everybody wouldn’t have invested emotions and feelings into it and we did … We talked about it, tried to get him in. We talked about it on air because he rightfully belongs in there. Then he gets in and he makes that decision, I was absolutely disappointed about it.”
A third-round draft selection of the San Francisco 49ers in 1996, Owens ranks eighth all-time in receptions (1,078), second in receiving yards (15,934) and third in receiving touchdowns (153). He played for the 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals during a career that spanned 15 years.
He was voted into the Hall in February, along with Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Ray Lewis, Randy Moss and Brian Urlacher.