Dewey Selmon (presenter):
Thank you very much. If I may have your attention please and get this because I will only tell you one time, he's hot, he's tall, he's good looking and I'm not talking about Superman either. Lee Roy Selmon was born in Eufaula Oklahoma. He was a Eufaula Ironhead, an Oklahoma Sooner, and a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. It is only fitting that on this day, we take our time to pause and look on the tradition of this the Pro Football Hall of Fame. When you look at the tradition you look over to your right and see certain people with the tradition aside themselves and played this game and glorified it with their own talents and their own spirit. And that spirit mirrors mine and my own family which is the Selmon family. And in this family where people strive to do things that are right I look no further than Lee Roy Selmon, he represents that. And that counts back because of the fact that veins flow to blood of the Selmons came from Lucious and Jessie Selmon. A very strong farming group from in a small town of East Oklahoma called Eufaula. In this town we developed a tradition just like the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That there are things worth cherishing, there are things worth holding on to, and there are things worth promoting. And Lee Roy represents all those ideals.
For me myself personally, it goes back a long way. For me it goes back to 11-19-53, the day I was born. As I was born my parents probably said to themselves, "Dewey will be lonely. He needs a playmate." Eleven months later I had one. They are devoted, loving , Christian family that takes care of their sons. I grew up with Lee Roy. For thirty-one years he was my celibate wife. We would do everything together. In fact, on the night of his senior prom it was I who took him there. At that point, his good looks had not developed and I was his best date. But as time went on good looks would come and he would rule at Oklahoma University. He would rule on the football field, a true champion. He would study and there he would achieve the grades. He would represent the idea of a model athlete to all his peers at O.U. He would win the award that goes along with a good defensive lineman at the school. From there he would go right to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he would lose two years solid straight. In the contrast of a great player, a great champion, a great tradition of all the teams of all the players they performed whether they are winning or losing Lee Roy did that to the max. Go for it Tampa.
From a down defensive end position where you get no glory because you are down in the trenches Lee Roy would come out with the ball at 100 miles an hour. He would beat the 300 pound guy, he would splurge from the backfield, and his great big arms would wind up around the heads and shoulders of all the quarterbacks in the NFL. That is what we are recognizing today in Lee Roy Selmon. All of the tradition that we have between this Hall of Fame that it represents how I really feel in my heart and soul that yeah Lee Roy Selmon really belongs here. To which play and personality he,won that respect. Not only from his teammates and coaches, but he earned that respect from the fans across the NFL. That you all saw him play and you saw what he represents. It is only fitting that I question myself a lot. That I would wonder who is really the most honored person here today. Is it my brother, Lee Roy Selmon or is it really Dewey Selmon. There is a part to that to and it goes like this. Lee Roy earned his respect; he earned the Hall of Fame. He earned to have his spirit enshrined with those like Nitschke
. He earned that right. But he could have picked from 1,000 people to have someone come and .ntroduce him. But he reached back and picked up the guy that took him to the prom. It is one thing I feel that will happen when Lee Roy gets into the Hall of Fame, which he is now is that he would represent all things that are right. And when you do think about the fact of who should have introduced Lee Roy I can not help but look no further than at my own family. I look at the six brothers and three sisters that were born. All of them could of had this position to do this. John McKay, Paul Bell worthy coaches they have the same right. They could have done it and one hundred thousand people probably could have the right. Sometimes I wonder who exactly has the right to introduce a person of Lee Roy's football ability, but more than Lee Roy's character and spirit that represents the game. I tend to say if I was graded on it would probably be my mom and dad Lucien and Jessie Selmon who would say yes I have a right, for one reason. Through us we gave them a physical body and we gave them love on a farm back in a small town of Eufaula Oklahoma. But I look here and when you look deep inside the guys heart and when you live with him for thirty-one years you can open the book and read the book and besides heart you read the fact that yes there is someone that should truly introduce Lee Roy Selmon. Maybe indeed it is God above that will say Lee Roy job well done. Without much close, but with one idea that Lee Roy represents everything he brought from the farm. He represents the family, he represents the Selmon family, he represents Eufaula Oklahoma, the Buccaneers, the NFL, and he will soon represent the NFL Hall of Fame. And I really hope that when all the kids dream about playing this game they walk through and see the representation of these athletes they will look on Lee Roy Selmon and say, yeah one day I dream of playing the game like Lee Roy Selmon.
I hope you will see the person that Lee Roy Selmon represents. Lee Roy Selmon to you all will be enshrined here. Come to know him. If you do come to know him you'll love him just as much as I do. As a brother, as a friend, as a person that who will give and asks for nothing back. It is so much more that I have to I introduce to you my brother and companion, Lee Roy Selmon.
Lee Roy Selmon:
Thank you. Now you know why I picked Dewey to be my date at the prom. He has always been a good date and a good roommate. I thank him for taking time out again to come and be with me here at this very special occasion. I first would like to thank God for being here. Because I realize that without him I would not be here. And I know that he works so many miracles in my life and in my family's life that has brought us all here together. And I have so much to be thankful for and I hopefully as I say these few words you can understand what I am trying to say and see how important that is to the Selmon family.
Before I do that I would like to acknowledge the 1995 class and how grateful I am to be a part of that. Henry Jordan Jr., Olive, your husband and father was just great. Jim Finks
, Steve Largent
. It's been wonderful. Ever since this was announced in January I've enjoyed getting to know more about you than just football players, but as men. And that is true character and that's the true thing that exceeds far beyond what goes on the football field. It goes on into life. And I would like to thank the Hall of Famers that preceded me. I've been asked a lot of times if this has really hit, has it really hit. I can guarantee you at lunch yesterday when I had an opportunity to hear Otto Graham
and Gene Upshaw
, Gale Sayers
and the group talk about what it all means. And it goes far beyond what is out on the football field. It stretches right on into life and how you can use this to reach out and help others. That is the true meaning of the Professional Football Hall of Fame. And I am just overwhelmed to be here. To be considered for this induction. I look back and it's been said that it is very hard for me to get into the National Football League Hall of Fame for a lot of reasons. You have not participated in a Super Bowl, you've not been on a championship team, your career has not been so long and all those things are true. But certainly the God that I believe in and my family believes in works in impossible types of situations. And it reminds me of a story in the Bible about Abraham and Sarah. When God promised them a child and it seemed like that would not occur because of the age of both Abraham and Sarah. But even in that difficult situation, unlikely situation they were granted a child. I look at this situation I feel much like Abraham and Sarah probably felt. They had a son named Isaac and Isaac stands for laughter and joy. I'm sure the community that knew them joined in their joy. I'm happy to see my family here. My mom and brothers and sisters and fans and friends from all over the state of Oklahoma and Tampa Bay here to join me in this very joyful moment. But I realize this is not something that I have done, but God has done for me. He has put a lot of angels in my pathway, in life's path that has made these types of things happen. If I could I would like to take a few moments to just say thank you to a few of them.
First I would like to say thank you to my wife, Claybra who has supported me all the way through this NFL career. We know that we have had our ups and our downs. My moods changed a lot. I spent a lot of time trying to prepare to play the game to the best of my ability. She was never selfish with her time to try and accept those various mood changes. And surely my children Brandy, Lee Roy Jr., and Christopher, they have always supported me and cheered me on and did everything they could to support me as well. They would take my shoes off and pop my toes and all those types of things. Secondly, I would like to pay special attention to my mom Jessie. It is a miracle that she is here with us today. I just thank God for her and I thank God for dad who left us in 1989. He's in heaven and he's looking down on this situation right now and I know he is proud. People have said that I know your parents must be proud of you, but I want you to understand that I am more proud of them. Because the very things that I have been taught in football and in life came from them. Those words about commitment and determination and hard work, never quitting, sharing, and caring. Those types of characteristics was born in a household of Lucious and Jessie Selmon. Those characteristics was not only taught to myself, but to all nine of their children. And they had nine good reasons to leave, but they didn't. They were committed and they hung in there with us. That is a lesson that we can all take with us. It's a lesson that we have all taken with us from that household. I was very fortunate as Dewey mentioned. I'm the youngest of all nine and I often wondered with Dewey being the eighth child and only being eleven months younger than him if I was a planned child. I never asked mom and dad, but I'm glad that I'm here. I'm glad they did what they did that got me here. You wonder as I've gotten older how they really stuck into that situation. Because I know it was difficult. I know they wanted the nicer things in life, but they couldn't have them because they committed to all their children to make sure all their needs were met. But in their commitment there was a lot of love, caring, and understanding. They may not have been able to provide us with the material things that we as children all of us growing up may have wanted, but they provided us with the most valuable things that life can offer respect, caring, understanding those types of things that will last a lifetime and form a base for which we could grow up on. I thank all my brothers and sisters. Because being the ninth child I had a lot of wonderful examples. And since my parents were teaching me the same lesson that they were taught. They were examples out there for me. If ever there was a need there was Joyce Riley coming back home to take care of my mom, there was Chester and Elmer and Charles that would come back to give us things that we couldn't afford. There was Margaret and Shirlene and Lucious and Dewey right there with me growing up together, encouraging me, disciplining me along the way. And I thank God for all my brothers and sisters. I really believe that if they had not been there I would not be here today. I'm so delighted to see all of them and their families here this afternoon. I'm also proud to see all my in-laws here as well. It really is an out show of love for them to take the time to make this long journey to Canton, Ohio from around the country to join this very, very special moment. I would also like a moment to talk about a few people that have really helped me out along the way and helped us out along the way as well. Coach Paul Bell, I would like to mention him. He was our high school coach. He was the one who identified Lucious and asked him to come out for the Eufaula High School Football Team. That is what really got the Selmons involved with football. But he did more than that. He reached out to make sure we had an opportunity to get back and forth to practice. Remember old blue the pick-up. He allowed us to use his prize possession, a pick-up to get back and forth so we might be able to continue to grow, to build a career in football. The city of Eufaula has really reached out to us. They declared Selmon Day back in the 70's and even named one of our major streets Selmon Road. That's love.
I also appreciate the University of Oklahoma. Chuck Furbanks was the head coach at the time and later Barry Switzer, Larry Lacewell who spent countless hours recruiting Lucious and then subsequently recruiting Dewey and myself to attend a great institution like the University of Oklahoma. I certainly enjoyed playing with all the great players there. It helped me to grow into a career, it helped me to get an education which is most important and one of the most valuable lessons that my parents had taught us. And today, as I work at the University of South Florida trying to develop another intercollegiate football program it excites me to have the opportunity to try to offer other deserving young men the opportunities to go to college first to get an education and continue to play a sport that they exhibit an exceptional talent for. I have grown much more appreciative of those donors that invest into the lives of young people like myself. Had that not been there and the opportunity at the University of Oklahoma I doubt that I would be here this afternoon.
But God blessed me with a career that extended beyond the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I really appreciate Hugh Culverhouse, Coach John McKay, and Ron Wolfe at the time for making a tough decision. Because it was an expansion team back in 1976. And I know they had to labor over who they should select as their first collegiate player. And I didn't appreciate it that much as a senior in college, but I've grown to appreciate that a whole lot more today. And I thank them for selecting me to come to the great area of Tampa Florida and play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But it was a bigger decision then that they made that day. A more important one than selecting me it was when they selected my brother Dewey. We had been on so many dates together that they knew I would probably be lost if I came all the way to Tampa Florida without him. Dewey has great ability and that was the greatest move the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made in the draft that year. While there I appreciated playing for Coach John McKay and surely under the tutelage of a great coach Abe Gibron. I know a lot of you have hear of Abe Gibron, but he taught me a lot of the finer points of playing in the National Football League and what it would take to be a competitor. Thank you Tampa Bay Buccaneers for selecting me into the National Football Hall of Fame. I also would like to pay tribute to my teammates throughout the years in Eufaula and at Oklahoma and of course with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There is too many to name. Every one of them has played a vital role in my life.
But when I talk about family and football and tying all that together. There is one teammate I would like to mention besides my brother Dewey. That's Ricky Bell. Ricky fought a hard battle on the football field. He never quit. He gave his all at each and every play at practice and at the games. Ricky became ill and he fought that way with his illness as well until the very day he left us. I will never forget that about Ricky. He was a good friend and I know he would be proud of this very moment today. I think Ricky Bell is truly a Hall of Famer. I would also like to thank the fans who supported me at Eufaula and the University of Oklahoma and right into Tampa Bay. Without that support of not only myself, but all those teams in the game of intercollegiate football and professional football game I wouldn't be here today as well.
I am so appreciative of someone in Tampa Bay who always put a sign in the corner of the end zone that said, 'Lee Roy Selmon for the Hall of Fame.' I don't know who that was, but that is very special. It shows you the kind of people that live in the Tampa Bay area. I've been so overwhelmed by the response of our community since this was announced back in January. I appreciate so much the all the kind gestures, phone calls, gifts, and letters thank you very much. I also would like to thank the nomination committee and the selection committee for such a fine honor as this. One person I would like to thank in particular is Tom McEwen. Tom told me a long time ago in 1976 that if I wanted to ever get anywhere in Tampa Bay that there was someone that I needed to know. That was important; a key person in the community, a leader and that person was him. I thank Tom. I believe him now. He had to make an excellent presentation to get me into this position today.
And in closing, I would just like to ask God to show me the full meaning of what this is all about. He has only given me a glance. I think if I ponder on it more, think more about this ceremony here right now I'm sure he will open my eyes to even more depth about what being in the National Football League is all about. The Hall of Fame staff – Pete Elliott, Tammy Owens, and the complete staff – thank you for all your professionalism, courtesy. You've answered every question before we asked them. Thank you for such a wonderful time. Also the Mayor and citizens of Canton, Ohio.
In closing I would like to share a story with you that talks about children and how important that is. I think that is the message I would like to take with me from here. Something I think the Professional Football Hall of Fame means. It is a story about how we should reach out to our children. And we don't have to be in the Hall of Fame to do these types of things. I think all of us as Hall of Famers when it comes when it comes to children. All it takes is a word. I heard Willie Lanier
talk about signing autographs and what a difference it made in the life of a young man. We all can reach out to young people. This story is about a man and his son. During the middle of the week they were at home resting and the son came up in the evening with two gloves and a baseball and he said, 'Dad can we go out and play catch?' The dad was a little tired and said, 'son why don't you come back on Saturday and I will play catch with you.' Well Saturday came along and the father was relaxing in the easy chair reading the morning paper. The son came up with the two gloves and the baseball and said, 'dad will you play catch?' The father said, 'well son, I'm reading the morning paper can you come back a few minutes later and I will be ready to go out and play.' A few minutes later he came back, 'dad, can we go out a play catch now?' His father said, 'Well son I'm still reading can you come back a few minutes later and I will be ready to go out.' The son left and a few minutes later returned. 'Dad, can we go out and play catch now?' The father was getting a little disturbed at all the interruptions. He came upon an ad in the paper that had a full page picture of the world on it so he showed it to his son and tore it into small pieces and said, 'Take this to your room and when you put it together come back and I will be ready to go out and play catch with you.' The son took those pieces of paper went to his room and came back in a short period of time returned. He took the paper and it was put together perfectly and he was amazed. He asked his son how he did that so quickly. His son explained, 'dad, on the other side of the paper there was the face of a little boy and I knew if I put the little boy back together the world would take care of itself.' So I feel that way about our youth and I think that is the challenge we all have. That if we can put our youth together one at a time this world would be a much better place to live and they would have a chance just as I've had.
Thank you, I appreciate it. May God bless each and every one of you.