JACKSONVILLE – Theirs is a relationship built on years. Many years.
And if the beat-writer/player relationship can be tricky in the NFL, the relationship of Pete Prisco and Tony Boselli moved past that long ago.
Prisco, the original Jaguars beat writer for the Florida Times-Union, covered much of Boselli's career as a Jaguars left tackle. He now appears on Jaguars radio shows with Boselli and was among the most vocal advocates for Boselli's recent election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
So, yeah … that election was important to Prisco. Really important.
"It's really special," Prisco said. "I consider him a friend. I admire him as a guy. He's a good person. As good a player as he was – and he was a great player – he's an even better person. That matters. I joke around when we do our show and I rip him and tease him and everything else. That's all part of getting to know him."
Prisco, now a respected NFL analyst and senior writer for CBS Sports, recently joined senior writer John Oehser in a series of podcasts discussing Boselli – who in August will become the first former Jaguars player enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He discussed multiple topics, including covering Boselli and the early Jaguars teams for the Times-Union from 1995-2000.
"The relationship started as writer/player, and I had to work to develop a relationship with him," Prisco said of Boselli, a cornerstone of those early Jaguars teams as the first draft selection in franchise history and the No. 2 overall selection in the 1995 NFL Draft.
"I ultimately did because he respected me, and I respected him."
Prisco added with a laugh, "He had his moments where he wasn't exactly warm and fuzzy at that locker and would play pranks on me. That was all part of the fun for me. It helped build the relationship with him, which was good."
Prisco also discussed what made Boselli an elite player, saying: "It was the technique as much as anything. He came in looking like a pro. You see all these offensive linemen coming into the league and they don't know how to use their hands in unison with their feet.
"Tony knew how to do that from the get-go. When he came to the NFL, his technique was sound. His feet were outstanding. He moved like a basketball player. You want that at left tackle. He was an athlete who grew into his body and that's why his feet and hands were so outstanding."
For the entire podcast with Prisco speaking about Boselli, click here
To view the last article in the series with Pete Prisco, click here