|Tuesday, July 15
Updated: July 16, 8:44 PM ET
Boselli never suited up for expansion Texans
ESPN.com news services
HOUSTON -- The first player the Houston Texans selected in the 2002 expansion draft will reportedly announce his retirement from pro football without ever playing a down for the team.
After sitting out almost all of the past two years because of three operations on his left shoulder, Tony Boselli is expected to announce by the week's end that his eight-year career is over, ESPN confirmed on Wednesday.
The Houston Chronicle and Houston station KRIV-TV originally reported Boselli's intentions Tuesday night.
Boselli, 31, declined comment when reached at his home by The Associated Press on Tuesday night.
Texans general manager Charley Casserly stopped short of confirming Boselli's retirement but said late Wednesday the team expected to make a statement regarding Boselli within 24 hours.
"We're holding off making that statement but I think at minicamp he gave it everything he had and I think at that point, he realized at some point things weren't as good as he hoped they would be for him to play,'' Casserly said.
"He takes time off (after minicamp) and during that time off you have expectations of what you're going to feel like and where you're going to be, I don't know if all those things happened how he had hoped.''
The five-time Pro Bowl offensive left tackle came to Houston after playing in only three games for Jacksonville in 2001. He had surgery on his left shoulder three times.
Boselli counted $7.55 million against the Texans' salary cap last year, but he initiated negotiations to lower his base salary to $655,000 in 2003. Consequently, he will count only $3.05 million against the cap this season and $3.05 million more in 2004.
Boselli's retirement would force the Texans to rethink the alignment of their front five, but several contingency plans were in the works.
Zach Wiegert, who would have played right guard if Boselli were healthy, likely will shift to right tackle, the position intended for Chester Pitts, who started all 16 games at left tackle last season.
Greg Randall also might work into the mix at right tackle. Steve McKinney is set at center, and the two guard spots will be up for grabs between Fred Weary, Milford Brown, Ryan Schau and Todd Washington.
When healthy, Boselli was considered the premier left offensive tackle in the NFL. He allowed just 15½ sacks in seven seasons with the Jags, who made him the second selection of the 1995 draft.
Boselli lined up with the first unit at left tackle during minicamp.
"If Tony doesn't play we have a $3 million (salary cap) hit this year and we may move the $3 million hit from next year to this year, again on the premise he doesn't play,'' Casserly said. "That's something we have to look at.''
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.