Terrell Owens to celebrate Pro Football Hall of Fame induction at UTC

Former UTC and NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens laughs on the sideline during the Mocs' football game against Western Carolina in October 2015 at Finley Stadium. Owens is headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Four weeks since announcing he would not attend this year's Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremony at which he will be inducted, former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga standout Terrell Owens announced on his Twitter page Tuesday that he will hold a personal celebration that weekend at McKenzie Arena.

Owens' event will be held on Aug. 4, starting at 3:17 - which, according to a report on TMZ and confirmed by UTC, signifies him as the 317th member of the hall. It will be free and open to the public.

On June 7 he announced he would not be attending the enshrinement ceremony in Canton, Ohio.

"As many of you know, I am forgoing the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Canton," Owens said in a released statement. "After giving it much thought, I have realized just how much I want to celebrate what will inevitably be the best weekend of my life at a place that means so much to me.

"I'm proud to be a Moc, and I'm honored to be able to share this experience with my family, friends, teammates and fans at the place that provided me an opportunity beyond high school and where I truly began to find myself as an athlete. Thank you to everyone who has supported my celebration decision. I look forward to seeing you all in Chattanooga."

After his announcement that he would not attend the ceremony in Canton, a number of UTC fans reached out to Owens through social media, imploring him to hold a ceremony in Chattanooga - about a three-hour drive from his hometown of Alexander City, Alabama.

During his 15-year NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Dallas Cowboys, the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals, the former third-round draft pick totaled 1,078 catches, 15,934 yards and 153 touchdowns. His yardage total is second all-time, while his touchdowns rank third. In a dominant three-year span beginning in 2000, he caught 290 passes for 4,163 yards and had 42 touchdowns.

He was a five-time All-Pro selection and made six Pro Bowls.

According to a source, the McKenzie ceremony will be just one of a "number of things" planned by Owens during the first weekend in August. Another source told the Times Free Press that Owens initially wanted to hold the Hall of Fame event at Chamberlain Field but "seating logistics were too tough."

Chamberlain is where Owens played his home games during his UTC career from 1992 to 1995, as he amassed 144 catches, 2,320 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Since retiring, Owens has been a fixture at UTC during homecoming weekends, often spending time with the basketball program - for which he also played - as well as going to the homecoming football game.

Last season he spent some time at a Mocs basketball practice, getting into a shooting competition with current junior Jerry Johnson.

"I have had the chance to get to know Terrell well during my short time at UTC," vice chancellor and athletic director Mark Wharton said in a school release. "He is very appreciative of his time in Chattanooga, and we all look forward to celebrating this special day with him."

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3.