Steve Young and Terrell Owens spent four seasons as teammates with the San Francisco 49ers in the late 1990s.
Young is hoping to make one connection with Owens, hoping to change the bombastic wide receiver's decision to boycott this year's Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.
A member of the 2005 Hall of Fame Class, Young thinks Owens is making a huge mistake by declining his invitation to be enshrined on Aug. 4 in Canton, Ohio.
"The damage to the relationship could be permanent. You don't want that," Young said on ESPN, per the San Jose Mercury News. "So I beg him to reconsider because the longevity of all the people that want to respect him and that he should respect as well. Forget about, 'I'm mad at the voters, I'm mad at the system.' The damage that could be done by not going could overwhelm him over a period of time."
Owens publicly declined his invitation to be part of the Class of 2018, releasing a statement on Thursday that he planned to "celebrate what will be one of the most memorable days of my life, elsewhere."
A finalist for the past three years, Owens was selected for enshrinement 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.
"It's shocking, especially in context for what it feels like to be there and the guys that you surround yourself with and the meaning it has personally and just for the team and the respect of all the people that got you there," said Young. "The relationship with the Hall of Fame for him has been difficult, because they delayed his time getting in. I'm sure there's resentment and scar tissue about it, but I beg him to reconsider."
Although he gained much notoriety for on-field antics and clashes with teammates and coaches, Owens put up sparkling numbers during his 16 NFL seasons.
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 had a spectacular, three-year stretch (2000-02) in which he caught 290 passes for 4,163 yards and 42 touchdowns.
Although he will not be in attendance in Canton, Owens will the headliner of the Madden NFL 19: Hall of Fame edition, which will be released on Aug. 7 -- three days after the ceremonies.
Owens is depicted in a Cowboys uniform on the Madden cover.