Owens en­joys his per­sonal in­duc­tion

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Sports - By Teresa M. Walker As­so­ci­ated Press

CHAT­TANOOGA, Tenn. — Ter­rell Owens came in wear­ing a suit spot­ted with the Pro Foot­ball Hall of Fame logo and swapped that out for the prized gold jacket.

His bust? That re­mained 600 miles away in Can­ton, Ohio, along with the seven other mem­bers of this year's Hall of Fame class, leav­ing the stage at the Uni­ver­sity of Ten­nessee at Chat­tanooga all alone to Owens.

And yes, the man known as T.O. later brought out a big bucket of pop­corn.

Owens en­tered the Pro Foot­ball Hall of Fame in a cel­e­bra­tion uniquely his own Satur­day af­ter­noon at his alma mater be­fore ap­prox­i­mately 3,000 fans who fre­quently cheered,

Late cer­e­mony

The of­fi­cial Hall of Fame in­duc­tion cer­e­mony was not over in time for this edi­tion. Go to SunSen­tinel.com/sports

chanted “T.O.” and gave him the oc­ca­sional stand­ing ova­tion. Owens also made clear why he chose to en­ter the Hall of Fame with a cer­e­mony in Chat­tanooga in­stead of with Ray Lewis, Randy Moss and for­mer Ea­gles team­mate Brian Dawkins in Ohio.

He used part of a speech last­ing about 39 min­utes to ex­plain why he was in Chat­tanooga in­stead of Can­ton, ad­dress­ing the “ele­phant in the room.”

“It's not be­cause of how many times it took for me to be voted to the hall,” said Owens, who got in on his third try — the same as Joe Na­math, for ex­am­ple. “It's about the mere fact that the sports writ­ers are not in align­ment with the mis­sion and core val­ues of the hall of fame.

“These writ­ers dis­re­garded the sys­tem, the cri­te­ria and by­laws in which guys are in­ducted, and ul­ti­mately the true mean­ing of the Hall of Fame and what it rep­re­sents. I wanted to take a stand so the next guy com­ing af­ter me will not have to go through what I and oth­ers have gone through. Whether it's three years or 45 years, you should get what you right­fully earned.”

The wide re­ceiver is ranked sec­ond in NFL his­tory with 15,934 yards re­ceiv­ing and third with 153 touch­down catches.

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