JACKSONVILLE – For several years, he was vocal in his support.
When it came to how Jason Taylor felt about Tony Boselli's candidacy for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Taylor – himself a Hall of Famer – believed Boselli absolutely worthy.
"I thought it was very deserving when he finally got in," Taylor said. "There was a five or six-year period where if he wasn't the very best, he was one of the top two tackles in the NFL. Tony always had the body of work. Having played against the top tackles in this league, I thought he was very deserving."
Taylor, a Class of 2017 Hall of Fame enshrinee who played 15 NFL seasons, recently joined senior writer John Oehser for one of a series of podcasts to discuss Tony Boselli – who in August will become the first former Jaguars player elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Taylor discussed multiple topics, including why Hall induction means so much to the players enshrined.
"It's validation for your career," Taylor said. "It's validation for the work, the time and the effort. That's why it's so important. Football ends at some point for everybody. Your body of work being a part of the Hall of Fame, it's really gratifying."
Though Boselli and Taylor played just once, in the 1998 regular season, the meeting left an impression. The game, a 28-21 Jaguars victory on Monday Night Football, is famous in Jaguars lore because it was a rare time when Boselli showed emotion toward a specific opponent.
That opponent was Taylor, then in his second season. The two jawed at one another during the game, with a highlight moment coming when Boselli animatedly motioned Taylor to follow him down the field following a Jaguars touchdown.
"I was talking a lot," Taylor said. "That was early in my career when I was still unsure of myself. I lacked the confidence that I could be a card-carrying member of the bad-ass club. I was trying to talk my way into it. His frustration built for me and the more frustrated you get as a young player, you keep chirping away."
As Taylor recalls it, it was clear who won the prime-time matchup.
"I think he wound up getting a personal foul," Taylor said. "It was probably for unnecessary roughness because he was wearing my ass out. If they didn't turn the lights out, lock the gate and make everybody leave the stadium, I would still be there right now with him whipping my ass."
Added Taylor, "It's a cliché, but you knew with Tony you were going to get 60 minutes of hell. He had length. He had size. He was very strong. He had the feet of a basketball player. He was just very difficult to beat."
For the entire podcast with Taylor speaking about Boselli, click here.
To view the previous article in the series with Mark Brunell, click here.