It was the first time two players from the Jacksonville Jaguars have made the Pro Football Hall of Fame semi-final list.
For former Jacksonville Jaguars tackle Tony Boselli, being named a semi-finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame has become something of a normal experience. The same cannot be said for Fred Taylor, who spent the majority of his career in Jacksonville as the team’s all-time leading rusher. Both men were amongst the 25 players who were announced to the hallowed list by the NFL on Tuesday afternoon.
"“I am humbled, grateful and very appreciative that I’m at this point,” Taylor said in a story that appears on Jaguars.com."
Taylor, who played his college ball just down the road in Gainesville for the University of Florida, ran for 11,271 from 1998-2008 while wearing the black and teal. For three seasons, 2006-2008, he and Maurice Jones-Drew comprised one of the best running back duos in the NFL.
The former first-round pick, ninth overall, was also instrumental in helping the Jaguars to a 14-2 record in 1999 and a trip to the AFC title game and is regarded as the best team in franchise history.
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With Boselli, this is the fifth time he has been voted a semi-finalist and has been a Hall of Fame finalist the past three seasons. It’s an honor for the team’s first-ever draft pick, who expressed how happy he was for his teammate.
"“Every time, at every stage, when you see your name included it’s an honor,” Boselli said. “Being included with all of those great players, and Fred being one of them, is a huge honor.”"
Boselli is regarded as one of the greatest to play the position of left tackle of his era and considered by many to be long overdue for his enshrinement. A short career has hurt his chances. Also, playing in a small market like Jacksonville may have worked against him when it came time to vote over the course of the past few years.
As Adam Rank wrote on NFL.com, when ranking the list of 25 modern-era players on the semi-finalist, it wasn’t how good Boselli was what hurts him potentially getting his bust in Canton, rather it is the injury history that he dealt with.
"“Loved him at USC. And really, the Jaguars had the right idea when they selected him with the second overall pick of the 1995 NFL Draft,” Rank added. “But for me, he’s one of those players who will get overlooked because of his injuries. If he had stayed healthy, I really do believe we’d be talking about perhaps the greatest to ever do it. (And he’s really good on the radio.)”"
Boselli has been mentioned in the same category as Anthony Munoz, Jonathan Ogden and Orlando Pace as players who were at the top of their game at a position that did not get proper recognition for its importance to the game over the years.
Still, it was Taylor whom Boselli was focused on in John Oehser’s story.
"“Him getting recognized, rightfully, as one of the best running backs to play the game is awesome,” Boselli said. “It’s good for him. It’s good for the Jaguars. As one of his teammates, I’m ecstatic that he’s right in the semifinalists with me.”"
Taylor played his last two seasons of his career with the New England Patriots before calling it a career. Boselli was selected in the 2002 expansion draft by the Houston Texans, but injuries forced him to retire.