Tony Boselli leads class of 8 into Pro Football Hall of Fame

Former Jaguars player Tony Boselli makes a peace sign and shows it to the Jacksonville crowd in 2017.
Former Jaguars player Tony Boselli makes a peace sign and shows it to the Jacksonville crowd in 2017. He was the first player chosen by the franchise out of USC and has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, also a first for the franchise.
(Getty Images)

The sixth time was a charm for Tony Boselli, the former USC standout and three-time All-Pro left tackle who will be the first Jacksonville Jaguars player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Boselli, a Hall finalist in each of the last five years, was announced as a member of the 2022 class during Thursday night’s NFL Honors program in the YouTube Theater at Hollywood Park.

A mammoth 6-foot-7 and 324 pounds as a player, Boselli will be inducted in a Canton, Ohio, ceremony this summer along with defensive linemen Bryant Young and Richard Seymour, defensive back LeRoy Butler, linebacker Sam Mills, receiver Cliff Branch, coach Dick Vermeil and official Art McNally.


“Based on Twitter and my text messages, I think they’re pretty happy, and I’m happy for them,” Boselli said of the fans in Jacksonville.

“I love that place. Representing the city and the fan base and the organization is important for me, and this is another opportunity for me to do that.”

Boselli will be the 14th former USC player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining Marcus Allen, Frank Gifford, O.J. Simpson, Ronnie Lott, Bruce Matthews, Ron Mix, Anthony Munoz, Troy Polamalu, Junior Seau, Lynn Swann, Willie Wood, Ron Yary and Red Badgro.

Boselli, who went to high school in Boulder, Colo., was a four-year starter at USC from 1991 to 1994, earning first-team All-American honors in his final three seasons and winning the Morris Trophy, awarded annually to the best offensive and defensive linemen in the Pacific-12 Conference, in 1994.

The 2022 NFL Football Hall of Fame class is seen during the NFL Honors show.
The 2022 NFL Football Hall of Fame class is seen during the NFL Honors show Thursday in Inglewood.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

He was the second overall pick of the 1995 draft, the first for the expansion Jaguars.

He made five Pro Bowls in seven seasons and was so dominant on the field and popular off it that a Jacksonville-area McDonald’s offered a “Boselli Burger” in his honor.


Boselli was flagged for only 11 holding penalties and 24 false starts in 91 career games and played in six playoff games, his deepest foray into the postseason coming in 1996, when Jacksonville lost to the New England Patriots 20-6 in the AFC championship game.

Boselli was selected by the Houston Texans in the 2002 expansion draft but spent that entire season on injured reserve and retired after the season because of a shoulder injuries.

“My career ended early because I got hurt, and the one thing I tell anyone to ever play this game is don’t take it for granted,” Boselli said.

“If I have any regrets, I probably took it a little bit for granted, because you think, ‘The game is gonna be there, and I’ll play 15 years and retire when I’m done.’ This game is unforgiving in that manner, so enjoy it because you never know when it might be the last time.”

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Slot machine

He is not the biggest, fastest or flashiest of Cincinnati’s vaunted pass-catching trio, but slot receiver Tyler Boyd may be the most sure-handed of a group headed by speed demon Ja’Marr Chase (81 receptions, 1,455 yards, 13 touchdowns) and the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Tee Higgins (74 catches, 1,091 yards, six scores).


Boyd caught 67 passes for 828 yards and five touchdowns this season and is usually Joe Burrow’s “hot read,” the receiver the quarterback looks to against the blitz. Including his 10 catches in three playoff games, Boyd has 77 straight catches without a drop this season.

“Tyler is a very underrated part of our offense,” Burrow said this week in advance of Sunday’s Super Bowl game against the Rams.

“I wish he would get more love because he’s one of the best slot guys in the league. He really understands what we’re trying to do on each play, he’s always where I expect him to be, and he never drops the ball.”

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The eyes have it

Rams receivers Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. are physically gifted pass-catchers who are adept at reading defenses, finding soft spots in zones and accumulating yards after catch.

But they are made even more dynamic by the savvy of quarterback Matthew Stafford, a 12-year veteran who threw for 4,886 yards and 41 touchdowns this season and can pick apart a defense with more than his arm.


“I think he’s one of the best quarterbacks at doing stuff with his eyes,” Bengals safety Jessie Bates said on Thursday.

“A lot of quarterbacks can get stuck on where they want to go, but if you watch the film, Matt does a really good job of looking off and then going right to where Kupp or OBJ are. They’re a very talented group, but they’re also very smart, and that’s what makes them dangerous.”

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Injury report

Rams tackle Joe Noteboom (chest) was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice in the Rose Bowl and appears questionable for Sunday. Tight end Tyler Higbee (knee) did not practice and appears doubtful.

Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah, who suffered a knee injury in the AFC title game, was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice at UCLA and said he expects to play in Sunday’s game.