20 years ago, the Houston Texans took their first step toward becoming a real football team by taking part in the NFL Expansion Draft. Several hours and 19 players later, the Texans were no longer just a concept in the minds of excited Houston football fans. They were an actual football team with a roster and everything.
The first player taken in that draft was Jaguars offensive lineman Tony Boselli who, on Thursday, was officially elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Good for him, I guess.
It’s hard to be too happy for a player who never played a single down for your team and retired the same year you drafted him. Because if he never played for the team and retired immediately after the organization’s inaugural season, was he really part of the team? Technically, obviously, he was. There’s pictures of him wearing a Texans jersey and everything. But in practice, it’s hard to think of Boselli ever really being a Texan.
The truth of the matter is that it was pretty well known that Boselli would never play a snap for the team. That’s not why they took him in the expansion draft anyway. His drafting was part of an agreement that original Texans general manager and all-around dink Charley Casserly made with the Jags. The agreement was that if the Texans took on Boselli and his bloated contract, the Jags would leave their roster open for two more selections, which paved the way for the Texans to draft Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gary Walker and non-Pro Bowl defensive tackle but still really nice guy Seth Payne to the initial roster. Walker and Payne would anchor Houston’s defensive line until their departures in 2005 (Walker) and 2006 (Payne).
Despite his lack of playing time, caused by injuries from an improperly repaired shoulder injury, Tony Boselli is the first Houston Texan to be enshrined in Canton. Which means that he will become the second ever player to wear Battle Red to enter the Hall of Fame, behind Ed Reed, who we would also like to forget ever played for the Texans. Some day, we Texans fans can hope to have someone go into the Hall representing the Texans and not just players who make the team their last stop on the way out the door.
Speaking of Texans who should be in the Hall of Fame, it is with great sadness that I also must report that Andre Johnson did not make the inductee list for this year’s class. This year marked the first year of Johnson’s eligibility for Canton. He made the final group of candidates but came up just short for this year’s class. It stinks. It stinks like Nick Caserio’s methodology for hiring head coaches. ‘Dre absolutely should have gotten in, and there’s strong reason to believe he has an excellent shot at it next year.
This GIF alone should’ve made Andre Johnson a dead lock for the Hall of Fame. Alas, we will have to wait another year for the first true Hall of Fame Texan.
It should’ve been you, Andre, it should’ve been you. If they don’t elect Andre Johnson next year, they should just abolish the Hall of Fame.