Football Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon dies after stroke
Lee Roy Selmon is inducted into the Buccaneers' Ring of Honor at halftime of a game at Raymond James Stadium in 2009.
September 4th, 2011
11:25 PM ET

Football Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon dies after stroke

Lee Roy Selmon, a Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end who was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ first-ever draft pick, died Sunday after suffering a stroke two days earlier, the team said.

The 56-year-old had been admitted to a Tampa, Florida, hospital after suffering the stroke Friday.

Selmon, a two-time national champion and three-time All-American at Oklahoma University, played nine seasons after the expansion Buccaneers made him the first overall pick in the 1976 draft. He was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1979, when the Bucs made it to the NFC championship game.

He still is the team’s all-time leader in sacks (78.5) and forced fumbles (28.5) and is the only Hall of Fame member to have played all of his seasons with Tampa Bay.

“He not only helped define the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but established himself as one of the best ever at the defensive end position,” Steve Perry, president of the Hall of Fame, said on the hall’s website.

The Glazer family, which has owned the Buccaneers since 1995, said in a statement Sunday that Selmon’s “standing as the first Buc in the Hall of Fame surely distinguishes him, but his stature off the field as the consummate gentleman put him in another stratosphere.”

The six-time Pro Bowler retired after the 1984 season and was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1995, with an induction speech by his brother and Oklahoma and Tampa Bay teammate, Dewey Selmon.

Selmon became associate athletic director at the University of South Florida in the mid-1990s, and helped fund-raising and other efforts to establish a new football program for the school. The team began playing as a NCAA Division I-AA program in 1997, and it rose to Division I-A - now the Football Bowl Subdivision - in 2001.

Selmon was USF's athletic director from 2001 to 2004.

"We all loved him, and we're all deeply saddened," USF President Judy Genshaft said in a statement released by the school. "We're a better university because of Lee Roy Selmon. He was an incredible role model who cared about all of our student-athletes, no matter what sport. He built an incredible legacy and he will never be forgotten."

His jersey number, 63, is the only one that the Bucs have retired, and an expressway in Tampa was named after him in 1999, according to the NFL team.

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Filed under: Florida • Football • Pro football • Sports
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Earl Weaver

    A true gentleman and a great player. The world would be better if more people were like him. May you rest in peace, sir.

    September 5, 2011 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
  2. abby1

    He was a wonderful person, may he rest in peace.

    September 5, 2011 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. loanarrange

    agree Earl – a great one, on and off the field.

    September 5, 2011 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
  4. RUFFNUTT ( human rights activist and elf slayer)

    i like billy squire... i guess this guy didn't...

    September 5, 2011 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
  5. jlf

    my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of this great hall-of-famer who was an inspiration on and off the field.

    September 5, 2011 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  6. Russ

    Probably another case where head injuries during his playing days caused damage that ultimately led to the stroke.

    September 5, 2011 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Brilliant response ... you're and idiot

      September 5, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  7. slvrbullet

    It is amazing how many illiterate people your organization hires. It is no wonder that people don't understand what is really happening in the world when they rely on the proper use of the english language to communicate and have to try and decipher what your writers are trying to say. case in point:

    "The six-time Pro Bowler retired after the 1984 season and was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1995, with an induction speech by his brother and Oklahoma and Tampa Bay teammate, Dewey Selmon."

    I'll take this job for less than whatever your paying this person.

    September 5, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
    • oldguy12

      That would be "you're" paying, not "your".

      September 5, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • natrldiver

      When you can read, speak and write in the national language, then you might have a point. Oh wait there will never be a national language because our government caters to every other nationality and not its own.

      September 5, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      OK, I'll bite: What exactly is wrong with that sentence? That it's written on something higher than a 5th-grade level?

      September 5, 2011 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Playjojo

      For pointing this out, you already are "Less than this person."

      September 5, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tom

    As a resident of the Tampa Bay area, I can tell you first hand that this article could go on for pages about the Man who sits with God today. Ten years ago the University of South Florida did not have a foodball program. Saturday night they beat Norte Dame. The program at USF was started by Lee Roy Selmon. He was truly a Great Man. Thoughts and Prayers go out to his family and frends.

    September 5, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  9. Lindsey

    The greatest Buc of all time! RIP

    September 5, 2011 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  10. blakebuchanan87

    The importance here is not that we lost a HOF football player, but a HOF human being. He, along with George Steinbrenner, was a leading philanthropist for Tampa Bay. He will be sorely missed for his contributions off the field, more so than the greatness he had on the field.

    September 5, 2011 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jake

    It's the University of Oklahoma not Oklahoma University...they're dyslexic on their football helmets, etc

    September 5, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  12. gung hoe

    Hey jif I agree with you 100 percent

    September 5, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  13. Philip

    @phorse...simply google 'active seniors compared cholesterol'. There you will find links to several studies comparing sebior citizens both with what Dr's call "high cholestrol" who have had their levels artificially lowered with those who who have not taken cholesterol reducing medications. In the meantime, think a bout it. You are what you eat. If you eat right, your body will lower it's owm cholesterol level for you. Thanks for reading my post and inquiring further. 🙂

    September 5, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  14. EW Salter

    My heart goes out to him and his family. I had a stroke 10 years ago. The docs told my wife I wouldn't make it through the night but the grace of God allowed me to still be here....and for that I am very thankful.

    September 5, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  15. JamesWinter

    Rest in Peace Lee Roy Selmon

    September 5, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
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