The NFL lost a legend today, as former Buccaneers defensive end Lee Roy Selmon, arguably the greatest player in franchise history, died of complications from a stoke he suffered on Friday. Selmon was 56.
"Tampa Bay has lost another giant," the team said in a statement issued earlier today. "This is an incredibly somber day for Buccaneer fans, [Oklahoma] Sooner fans, and all football fans. Lee Roy's standing as the first Buc in the Hall of Fame surely distinguished him, but his stature off the field as the consummate gentleman put him in another stratosphere. Put simply, he was first class. He was the real deal. We are so blessed to have known this fine man and to have called him one of our own, yet so sad to have lost him so soon. Our hearts go out to the Selmon family at this time of their loss.”
Selmon was the first overall pick in 1976, the first year of the franchise. He was a six-time Pro Bowl defensive end and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995.
Selmon was born in Eufaula, Oklahoma on October 20, 1954. The youngest of nine children (six boys, three girls) raised by Lucious and Jessie Selmon in Eufaula, Lee Roy eventually played football for the University of Oklahoma alongside two of his brothers, Dewey and Lucious. The Buccaneers drafted both Lee Roy and Dewey in 1976 and the two were teammates in Tampa from 1976-80.
Selmon helped lead the Sooners to consecutive national championships. He won the Outland Trophy, the Vince Lombardi Award and three All-American honors and also graduated from Oklahoma with a degree in special education.