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Back again: Boselli, Butler, Smith, Taylor among HOF nominees

25 Oct 1998: Tony Boselli #71 of the Jacksonville Jaguars pushes Maa Tanuvasa #98 of the Denver Broncos at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Jaguars 37- 24. (Stephen Dunn)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Will this be the year?

Former Jaguars icons Tony Boselli, Fred Taylor and Jimmy Smith, along with Lee High and Florida State product LeRoy Butler, are among the 122 modern-era nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The nominees were released Wednesday afternoon.

The list will be cut to 25 semifinalists and later trimmed to 15 finalists. Those 15 are presented to the 49-member Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee in February and are gradually whittled down to no more than five.

Among some of the bigger name first-year players nominated for the Hall were receivers Anquan Boldin, Andre Johnson and Steve Smith; linebacker Demarcus Ware and defensive linemen Robert Mathis and Vince Wilfork.

For Boselli, this is well-worn territory. He’s been a finalist the past five years but still awaiting enshrinement.

Boselli, who was selected No. 2 overall in the 1995 draft out of Southern Cal, played left tackle for the Jaguars until 2001. Injuries shortened his career, but he was unquestionably one of the best in the game when he played. Boselli was a five-time Pro Bowl pick and a three-time All-Pro selection. Shoulder injuries cut his career short, which remains the biggest knock on Boselli’s candidacy.

Butler, who was a star safety for the Packers, made the cut to the final 10 last year, his first time as a finalist.

Taylor’s candidacy is sure to get more scrutiny. He has made the cut to the 25 modern-era semifinalist rounds in both 2019 and ‘20, but has yet to make it to the final 15. Smith was one of the 130 nominees last September but didn’t make the cut to the semifinalist round.


About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.