At 3:17 on Saturday afternoon at the UTC Arena, the ceremonies began for Terrell Owens induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Since T.O. was the 317th player elected to the hall, it was fitting to start the proceedings at that time.
Of course the other seven inductees all chose to go to Canton, Ohio for the official induction ceremonies. I have been asked a few times, "Why is Terrell Owens being inducted in Chattanooga? " Well, UTC is where he played his college football which enabled him to be a third round NFL draft choice in 1996 and T.O. is doing things his own way.
That's as good an answer as you will get from anybody and it is so truthful. He made very few friends among members of the media during his career, especially including the voting members of the hall of fame committee. He is as polarizing as any player who ever played the game with as many people disliking his antics as those who did. Most of those media members I spoke of, felt like they had been slapped in the face when he announced his decision to hold his own personal induction ceremonies at his Alma Mater. It was unusual and totally unprecedented but it was vintage T.O. doing things his way.
I had planned all week long to attend the ceremonies, in fact my buddy Darrell Patterson called me earlier in the week and asked if I would be his date for the festivities. I originally said I would but when my main floor air conditioning unit went on the blink, I was forced to back away.
In his four years at UTC, T.O. had four different head coaches. Buddy Nix who discovered him and signed him to a scholarship at UTC, Tommy West who coached here just one season before going to Clemson and Buddy Green who coached him for his final two seasons with the Mocs. There was also Mack McCarthy who coached T.O. on the basketball squad for a couple of seasons. All were either invited and showed up, or thanked except one; Buddy Nix. Coach Nix and Terrell Owens never really got along well at all. Coach Nix tells the story that he was forced to suspend T.O. twice before he ever attended a practice at UTC his freshman year. He also was asked when he signed him to a national letter of intent, what kind of guy is he? Buddy replied, " He's a @#%&, but he'll be playin' on Sundays."
To me, it was a shame that Coach Nix wasn't invited to the festivities. After all, if Buddy Nix had not discovered Terrell Owens when he went to Alexander City, Alabama to see another player play basketball, he might never have even made it to the NFL, much less be a bona-fide hall of famer. That in itself is sad. But, he obviously had his reasoning for the snub, because T.O does things his own way.
It's a bit ironic of course that just one day after being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Terrell Owens had a tryout at the age of 44 for a team in the Canadian Football League. Why not? After all, remember that T.O. always has and always will do things his own way.