Pro football immortality awaits for more names Saturday night in Houston, and former starts in the Sunshine State: John Lynch, Jason Taylor and Tony Boselli are part of the finalists anxiously passing the time until the verdicts late this evening.
Lynch, as you are likely aware, was just named GM of the San Francisco 49ers leaving the Fox NFL broadcasting booth. So, he’s had a crazy week already, but it could culminate in the biggest honor a player can receive. Lynch spent 11 years (1993-03) in Tampa Bay going to five Pro Bowls and helping the Bucs win Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego. He then played four seasons in Denver and made the Pro Bowl all four years there. But, make no mistake, he’s a Buc foremost and his former teammates Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks have made it in in recent years, as well as his former coach Tony Dungy last season. The immensely popular Lynch’s only real obstacle is that “true” safeties don’t often get in. We’ll see, again, tonight.
For his part, Taylor made the final 15 in his first year of eligibility. The former Dolphin pass rushing icon of the late 90’s-early 2000’s, Taylor made six Pro Bowls himself, had six seasons with at least 10 sacks and was voted to the NFL “All Decade Team” of the 2000’s. He and Zach Thomas anchored the Jimmy Johnson led Miami defenses and helped bring the Dolphins back into relevance. His 139.5 sacks are good sixth in league history, which all but guarantees he will get in at some point, but it may not be tonight.
Finally, former Jaguars great LT Tony Boselli, is up on the finalist list. Boselli was the #1 overall and first ever draft pick by Jacksonville in 1995. He played just seven seasons, but made the Pro Bowl in 5 of them. And more importantly, was NFL “All Pro” from 1997-99 at the most important line position for a right handed QB in football. He was regarded as the premiere lineman in the game and named to “All Decade Team,” for the 1990’s. Shoulder surgeries cut his career short at just seven seasons and that may hurt his chances.
Along those lines, Lynch, Taylor and Boselli also have stiff competition Saturday night in players like LaDanian Tomlinson, Terrell Owens, Terrell Davis, Kurt Warner, Joe Jacoby, and Brian Dawkins on the finalist ballot. The Pro Football Writers Assoc. have to select four and can select up to eight names during their meeting in Houston.
The inductees will be publicly introduced on the “NFL Honors” awards TV show airing live from Houston on NFL Network Saturday night.