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On the Hall: "He's going to lead block for me…"

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JACKSONVILLE – Big Bo is Canton-bound.

That's the first step for Tony Boselli and Jaguars fans/observers, which leads in a very real sense to the next question: Who's next?

That answer could be running back Fred Taylor and wide receiver Jimmy Smith – and Boselli unsurprisingly mentioned both former teammates last week shortly after being announced as a member of the 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame class.

"I had the opportunity to play with a lot of really good offensive players, and two of the best of that era: Fred Taylor and Jimmy Smith," Boselli said.

Boselli, the first draft selection in franchise history and the first player inducted into the Pride of the Jaguars, became the first player in franchise history selected to the Hall of Fame.

Taylor and Smith indeed appear to have the best chances at Hall induction among former Jaguars players other than Boselli, with both having careers in the 1990s and 2000s that put them in legitimate conversation to one day be inducted.

Taylor during Super Bowl LVI week last week said that perhaps Boselli's induction could someday help his cause.

"I hope so," Taylor said with a smile. "We're working on it. He's going to lead block for me, lead me in and lead the way for me."

Taylor, the No. 9 overall selection in the 1998 NFL Draft, played 13 NFL seasons – 1998-2008 with the Jaguars and 2009-2010 with the New England Patriots. He rushed for 11,695 yards and 66 touchdowns, with seven seasons rushing for more than 1,000 yards and six more than 1,200 yards.

He is ranked No. 17 in all-time rushing yards, with all retired players ahead of him on the list except for Frank Gore in the Hall of Fame. Taylor has been one of 25 Hall semifinalists the last two seasons.

Smith, a second-round selection by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1992 NFL Draft, played for the Jaguars from 1995-2005. He made the Pro Bowl each season from 1997-2001 and was a second-team All-Pro selection in 1998 and 1999. He had at least 1,000 yards receiving nine seasons – 1996-2002 and 2004-2005. He is 25th on the NFL's all-time receiving yards list, having caught 862 passes for 12,287 yards.

"They're as good as anyone who ever has played the game," Boselli said of Taylor and Smith. "I'm pretty biased toward those guys."


Boselli on how his election to the Hall might be a precursor to more success for the franchise on the field: "As far as the success, or the lack of success, hopefully that's going to change. I believe it will. I'm excited for that with [Head Coach] Doug Pederson. Hopefully, this is the start of a good 2022 and get things on the right track. You can't change what has happened in the past. Hopefully, we're going to have some better days ahead and hopefully this is the start of it."


Boselli: "As an offensive lineman, I was always looking for that perfect game. I never had one. You'd play 70 snaps and 69 would be perfect and you'd do something [negative] on that one. That's all you ever thought about. The nature of the position as an offensive lineman: you were always searching for that perfect game. It's tough to pitch a shutout. Every once in a while, maybe you get close and those are fun moments. I had a lot of big games, a lot of fun games … every playoff game I loved because the stakes were high."

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