2018 Hall of Fame inductee Terrell Owens has found himself in the news for a variety of reasons recently, and he took the time to clear things up on the ESPYs red carpet in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
Owens has controversially decided to skip the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony, opting to give his induction speech at his alma mater, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, instead of Canton. He also could get back on the field, even if it means playing in the Canadian Football League.
The 44-year-old addressed both topics at the 2018 ESPYs.
Owens made sure to clear up any confusion on his intentions, via ESPN.com:
"For me I think, overall, everybody's obviously wondering what went into my decision. I think John Wooden said it best: 'Be more concerned about your character than your reputation.' I think what the noise is right now is more about my reputation than my actual character.
"They're making the narrative more so about me offending the Hall of Famers, and that has nothing to do with it. I respect all of those Hall of Famers that have gone in before me and going in with me and after me. It has nothing to do with those Hall of Famers."
Owens previously explained his decision to skip Hall of Fame weekend via Twitter:
The decision comes after the legendary wideout had to wait until his third time as a finalist to be voted in. But he's not alone in having to wait for his time to come—and he made it clear that he declined the invite to stand up for those who have been in his shoes in the past:
Owens noted on Wednesday that his "reputation" has sparked the backlash from those who have criticized his decision. There are seven other inductees, but the spotlight is firmly on Owens as a result of the drama.
It's hard to blame Owens for feeling slighted, though. After all, he hauled in 1,078 catches for 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns during his NFL career.
And if any team is willing to give him a chance to add to those numbers, he would consider the opportunity.
"I know that I do have the ability to play. I know everybody sees the shape that I'm in. There's a lot of athletes that play their prospective sports, but there are few guys that defy the odds. I think I'm one of those guys.
"It's unfortunate that I haven't been able to continue my career, but again, I'm not actively seeking to get into the NFL; but again, if there's an opportunity for me to play, then yeah, I will entertain that, as well as the CFL."
Owens has not played in a regular-season game since the 2010 campaign when he was with the Cincinnati Bengals. He did, however, sign a contract with the Seattle Seahawks during the 2012 offseason but was cut before the regular season.