Tony Boselli, Fred Taylor make Hall of Fame semifinal cut again

Tony Boselli (left) and Fred Taylor.
Tony Boselli (left) and Fred Taylor. (Getty Images)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Tony Boselli and Fred Taylor are in the running for the Pro Football Hall of Fame again. So, too, is Jacksonville native LeRoy Butler.

The trio is among the 25 modern-era semifinalists announced on Tuesday for the Class of 2021. Former Jaguars receiver Jimmy Smith, who was a nominee last September, did not make the cut to the semifinalist round.

The list of 130 nominees was announced last September. The list of 15 finalists will be announced in January.

Boselli has been down this path quite a few times. He’s been a finalist four consecutive years, but has yet to make it into the hall. Taylor’s candidacy seems to be gaining momentum.

“I am honored to be on that list again,” Taylor said. “This category is special. You know, it gives you an opportunity to get one step closer. The list of guys that are on there this year seems to be stronger than it was a year ago. Man, some great players that are on that list. I’m the only running back on the list. That really brought a smile to my face. So I thought that was something that stood out to me.”

He is a semifinalist for the second consecutive year. Taylor’s 11,695 rushing yards rank 17th in NFL history.

Taylor holds seven of the top 10 single-season rushing totals in team history, with 1,572 yards on 345 carries during the 2003 season.

Butler, a former Lee High School star, was a finalist for the first time this year but did not earn enshrinement.

It will be a steep year for induction for any of the local semifinalists. Only five players can be inducted and the first-year semifinalists are stacked. Quarterback Peyton Manning, cornerback Charles Woodson, defensive end Jared Allen and receiver Calvin Johnson are among the players eligible for the first time.

Taylor said that the Jaguars getting a player in Canton would be a jolt for the franchise and its fans.

“I think it’d be huge for the Jaguars fan base,” he said. “I think it’d be even bigger win for the NFL. Consider all things considered. I don’t know. I don’t know if we’re one of the last teams that doesn’t have a player in Canton.”

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