JACKSONVILLE – Call it a relationship of respect.
Long-term work – indeed, lifelong – respect.
Michael McCrary played against Tony Boselli eight times. Boselli, who played left tackle for the Jaguars from 1995-2001, respected few players — if any — as much as he respected the Baltimore Ravens’ longtime defensive end. . McCrary felt the same way about Boselli.
“Totally agree … completely,” McCrary said.
McCrary, who played 10 NFL seasons with 71 sacks, recently joined senior author John Oehser as part of a podcast series about Boselli — who in August will be the first player of Jaguars inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. McCrary talked about many topics, including the ideas that made Boselli one of the best left tackles in the NFL’s Golden Age at the position.
“Tony would have been a great defensive player,” McCrary said. “What made our matchups so special was that he gave 100 percent right away. It was very difficult to get a sack on Tony. You talk about weapons in Jacksonville back then: [to running back] Fred Taylor, [wide receiver] Jimmy Smith, [quarterback] Mark Brunell…
“Those were weapons, but those weapons wouldn’t have taken off unless you had Tony in the equation. He was a phenomenal pass blocker, a phenomenal run blocker. “
McCrary continued, “He had great footwork. He had great style. He was very crafty. He was very smart. He was patient player. He was everything you could want in an offensive lineman.”
But McCrary said something else pushed Boselli from talent to greatness.
“It’s a rare thing you’d find someone who had all those assets but was also violent and had a violent mind,” McCrary said. “He had the attitude, ‘I’m going to do it no matter what it takes.’ He was crushing it at the same time and doing everything to play the game no matter what.
“Going up against someone like that, who would always challenge you to play and play — over and over again — was very interesting to me because that was unusual. You don’t often see offensive linemen as well. .”
McCrary added, “I loved it. He just helped me. That was my challenge for the year. The best offensive linemen, I put on my refrigerator. a year ago how many bags would I put in them. And Tony, I I knew there was a good chance I’d rather get it, I wouldn’t say ‘zero,’ but I knew that I will have to work.
“He made me work like no one else.”
For McCrary’s entire podcast on Boselli, click here.
To view the previous article in the series with Fred Taylor, click here.