Terrell Owens sends his regrets.
The one-time 49ers receiver said in a statement Thursday that while he appreciates being voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year, he will not attend the induction ceremony on Aug. 4. Instead he'll be "elsewhere."
"I have made the decision to publicly decline my invitation to attend the induction ceremony in Canton,” Owens wrote on his website, TerrellOwens.com. “I have already shared this information with the Hall. After visiting Canton earlier this year, I came to the realization that I wish to celebrate what will be one of the most memorable days of my life, elsewhere. At a later date, I will announce where and when I will celebrate my induction.”
According to Hall president and CEO David Baker, Owens is the first inductee to shun the enshrinement ceremony, which includes speeches and the NFL's first preseason game of the year.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
"We are disappointed but will respect Terrell's decision not to participate in the enshrinement," Baker said in a statement.
Of course, it's no surprise that Owens of all people would be the first to break with precedent.
The mercurial receiver was the most controversial and polarizing player in the league during the height of his career and left a trail of burning bridges from San Francisco to Philadelphia to Dallas. He feuded with then 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia as well as his quarterback in Philadelphia, Donovan McNabb.
Though Owens ranks second in the NFL in all-time receiving yards and third in touchdown catches, it took him three tries to reach the Hall of Fame. His divisive personality was thought to be the reason he had to wait.
Owens spoke last week about feeling "slighted" by Hall of Fame voters.
"I wasn't disappointed, I never felt disappointed," Owens told The Charlotte Observer. "I just felt disrespected. I knew how much hard work I put in to me becoming the receiver I did. So if they couldn't recognize that by my body of work, then something was wrong."
Still, Owens did not indicate he holds any grudges in his Thursday statement.
“I would also like to thank the San Francisco 49ers, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Dallas Cowboys, the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals for the time I was granted with each organization," he wrote. "I am thankful for the relationships forged and the lessons learned while part of each team. 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.”
The other inductees are expected to attend. That group consists of Randy Moss, Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher, Brian Dawkins, Robert Brazile, Jerry Kramer, and Bobby Beathard, who is the grandfather of 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard.