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Boselli says he'll play this Sunday


Tony Boselli's answer was firm and to the point.

"I'll play on Sunday," Boselli told reporters today, when the star left offensive tackle was asked about the condition of the right knee he injured on Aug. 19.

He would not elaborate on his physical condition, choosing only to answer each question about his right knee with a firm response about his status for Sunday.

"I will play on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers at one o'clock," Boselli said.

When he was carted off the practice field two weeks ago, it was first feared that he had sustained a major knee injury. After all, he had undergone reconstructive surgery on the same knee in January of 2000 and had battled his way through 16 starts last season, his comeback year from surgery that usually requires a year or more of rehabilitation.

His most recent knee injury was said to be a bone bruise of the knee joint; a painful jamming of the joint as Boselli pivoted to engage Jaguars defensive end Renaldo Wynn.

How does he continue to rebound as quickly as he has throughout his Jaguars career, beginning in his rookie season, 1995, when a knee injury in the first week of training camp required surgery? He made it back onto the field for the fourth game of the regular season, stoned Green Bay defensive end Sean Jones for three quarters, and didn't miss another game until suffering a severe high-ankle sprain late in the 1997 season.

It was an injury that left damage that also had to be repaired in the winter of 2000. Since then, his right ankle and right knee have conducted a daily pain competition. The question has always been, "What hurts most, Tony, your knee or your ankle?"

The fact of the matter is the Jaguars feel a sense of security with Boselli on the field -- even if he's on just one healthy leg -- and he has always put the team's security over his own well-being.

"I refuse to play that game of what percent are you," Boselli said, when asked to describe his degree of recovery. "I expect to play at a high level."

He is always expected to play at a high level; at a level he has defined through a six-year career that has already put him in the company of all-time great left tackle Anthony Munoz.

If the Jaguars have ever needed Boselli, and they always have, they have never needed him more than they do now. These have been painted as dark hours for the Jaguars franchise. They spent an offseason re-structuring contracts and attempting to keep their core players together for one more run at the Super Bowl. Now, on the heels of a dismal preseason, critics are suggesting the team should've abandoned that idea.

Boselli says he is experiencing no such sense of doom.

"We're excited to get this season started. It's on us now, as players. I'm upbeat every year. We're all undefeated now," he said.

Vic Ketchman is the Senior Editor of Jaguars Inside Report, the official team newspaper of the Jacksonville Jaguars. One-year subscriptions may be purchased by calling 1-888-846-5247.

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