Tony Boselli gave up on his comeback from shoulder injuries today and retired without ever playing a down for the Houston Texans, who had made the one-time All-Pro offensive tackle the building block of their team.
"I am retiring because of medical reasons, specifically my left shoulder, which did not continue to improve to the point where I could play," Boselli said in a statement. "I'm disappointed that I will not be able to play for the Texans and do what I was brought here to do."
The 31-year-old Boselli, an eight-year veteran, was the Texans' first selection in the 2002 expansion draft. He came to Houston from Jacksonville along with defensive linemen Gary Walker and Seth Payne after missing most of the 2001 season with the Jaguars.
He returned to the starting lineup in the Texans' minicamp this spring but his progress wasn't enough to warrant continuing his career.
"When he was at the height of his game, he was as good as any left tackle in the National Football League," Texans coach Dom Capers said. "Unfortunately, his injury didn't respond the way that he'd hoped and the way that we'd hoped and now he's made the decision that he feels is best for him and his family."
Boselli allowed just 15 1/2 sacks in seven seasons with the Jags, who made him their first-ever draft pick with the second selection overall in 1995. He helped lead the team to the 1996 AFC championship game. Boselli was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and was All-Pro from 1997-99.
Boselli counted $7.55 million against the Texans' salary cap last year, but he initiated negotiations to lower his base salary to $655,000 in 2003. Consequently, he will count only $3.05 million against the cap this season and $3.05 million more in 2004.
"I think at minicamp he gave it everything he had and I think that at some point, he realized things weren't as good as he hoped they would be for him to play," general manager Charley Casserly said.