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Tony Boselli: ‘We Play The Game, We Know It’s Risky’

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28 Nov 1999: Tony Boselli #71 of the Jacksonville Jaguars is ready on the field during the game against the Baltimore Ravens at the PSI Net Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland. The Jaguars defeated the Ravens 30-23.

Tony Boselli (Credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

It was announced Thursday that former USC offensive tackle and three-time All-American Tony Boselli will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

The second overall pick in the 1995 NFL Draft, Boselli is extremely happy to receive this honor and intends to share it with his five children – none of whom was alive when he played for the Trojans.

“It’s great to experience this part of my life (with them that) they weren’t a part of that much,” Boselli, 42, said on The Morning Show. “They can experience it with me.”

Boselli, a five-time Pro Bowler, played seven seasons for Jacksonville and one for Houston before retiring in 2002.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Boselli was not a part of the concussion lawsuit against the NFL. He will also not be a part of the potential class-action lawsuit against the NFL for its use of painkillers.

“My whole thing about the concussion (lawsuit) is I question some of the guys in it and why they were in it – because we do know the risks,” Boselli said. “I thought whatever money was gotten from that lawsuit should go to the guys who really need it – the guys who have dementia, the guys who have ALS

“Listen, we play the game. We know it’s risky. If any of us who played (says), ‘Oh, I didn’t realize that my body was not going to be the same the rest of my life,’ then you’re lying to yourself and everyone else, in my opinion.”

Boselli doesn’t agree with the lawsuit for painkillers, either.

“I understand that (there are) guys who are addicted and (who) have addictive issues because of the painkillers and stuff that they (took), and there’s long-term issues with it – and I’m not saying the NFL has no responsibility,” he said. “But I would put most of the responsibility on the players ourselves – because we chose to play the game. We knew the risk. We chose to take pain pills. I took pain pills. I took Toradol. I did those things. No one made me do them. I wanted to be on the field.

“Was there pressure to be on the field? Sure, it’s a job – just like the guy who’s waking up this morning, there’s pressure to go perform at his job so he can provide for his family. The biggest difference is we were compensated in a very nice way. We knew there was a long-term (risk).

Boselli thinks the union is responsible as well.

“If these things were happening – and it was widely known that they were; everyone knew about Toradol, everyone knew about pain medication – why didn’t the union step in? That’s their job. The union is supposed to be on our behalf fighting for the rights of the players. I didn’t hear the union yelling and screaming (and) saying, ‘Stop this behavior. Let’s get independent doctors. This is wrong.’ No, they just sat back. And now after the fact, they want to jump in here and take some credit or get involved, but they’re responsible. They’re probably more responsible than anybody because they’re supposed to be protecting the rights of their members.”

Boselli was asked if the players should add the union to their lawsuit.

“I don’t know. I’m not a big suing person,” he said. “I take the mindset (of), it’s my responsibility. At the end of the day, I decided to play the game. I knew the risks. I knew my body would never be the same the day I played it. I took pain pills. I knew they weren’t great for me. I weighed the risk and I wanted to be on the field. But if you’re going to sue, I don’t know why you wouldn’t (sue the union). I don’t even know if you can sue the union.

“The reality is, we’re all in this together,” Boselli continued. “I’m not saying that any player shouldn’t be taken care of. I’m not saying that there’s not medical issues that they shouldn’t get help with. But let’s sit down at the table (and figure it out).”

That being said, Boselli questions some of the players’ true motives.

“I think a lot of times guys get in – not so much because they think they have an issue or they are having any issues, but because there’s a chance for maybe a little bit of gold at the end of the rainbow,” he said. “And that’s troubling.”

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