Thomas, who starred for the Buffalo Bills in the 1990s, said he is upset that Owens will not attend the Aug. 4 ceremony in Canton, Ohio.
Owens is in the Class of 2018 along with linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, wide receiver Randy Moss and safety Brian Dawkins. They will be joined by Bobby Beathard (contributor) and seniors committee nominees Jerry Kramer and Robert Brazile.
Owens will instead celebrate his big day at his alma mater of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.
“I’m a little ticked off that he’s not coming,” Thomas told the Professional Football Researchers Association Convention on Saturday, according to the Buffalo News. “But it’s his choice. … I think it was a bad P.R. move on his part, but I do get it. … Every guy thinks they should have been a first-ballot Hall of Famer. I remember Deacon Jones telling me after I didn’t get in the first time … he said, ‘Whether you’re going to get in the first time, the second time, the third time, it’s when you get in that you should enjoy it.'”
Owens wrote on Twitter that his boycott is for those Hall of Famers who had to wait a long time to be inducted.
“I’m SO HAPPY for JERRY [Kramer]!!” Owens wrote. “[He] shouldn’t have had to wait that damn long either! I’m doing this for guys like him. Past, present and the future.”
I’m SO HAPPY for JERRY!! U shouldn’t have had to wait that damn long either! I’m doing this for guys like him. Past, present and the future. https://t.co/z92XZGeXAn
— Terrell Owens (@terrellowens) July 15, 2018
Kramer, 82, was a pivotal member on Vince Lombardi‘s Green Bay Packers teams that won five NFL championships as well as the first two Super Bowls. The guard was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1960s and — for the time being — remains the lone member of the league’s 50th Anniversary Team that resides outside of the Hall of Fame.
Prior to his modern-era eligibility expiring in 1988, Kramer was a Hall of Fame finalist nine times. He also was a senior finalist in 1997.
Although Owens gained much notoriety for on-field antics and clashes with teammates and coaches, he put up sparkling numbers during his NFL career.
A six-time Pro Bowl selection, Owens resides second in career receiving yards (15,934), third in receiving touchdowns (153) and eighth in receptions with 1,078. He played for the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Bills and Cincinnati Bengals.