Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon died Sunday, two days after suffering a stroke. He was 56.
Selmon was the first-ever draft pick of the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976. Nearly two decades later he became the first representative from the franchise to earn election to the Hall of Fame.
Despite battling injuries early in his career, he quickly developed into not only the cornerstone of the young franchise but one of the finest defensive ends ever to play in the NFL.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of Lee Roy’s tragic and untimely death,” commented Steve Perry, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s President/Executive Director. “Lee Roy exemplified the very qualities that earn an individual a place in the Hall of Fame. He not only helped define the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but established himself as one of the best ever at the defensive end position. Our hearfelt sympathy goes out to Lee Roy's wife Claybra and the entire Selmon family.”
Selmon entered the NFL after a stellar college career with Oklahoma that was capped by him winning the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy in 1975 as the nation’s finest college lineman.
After Tampa Bay struggled early in its existence, it was Selmon who helped solidify a defense that led the Buccaneers in 1979 to a division title and reach the NFC Championship game in just their fourth season. Selmon and the Buccaneers added another division title two seasons later.
In all, he played nine seasons in the NFL in which time he racked up 78.5 sacks, forced 28.5 fumbles and had 10 fumble recoveries. Selmon was a three-time first-team All-NFL pick, named to five All-NFC teams, and voted to six straight Pro Bowls. In arguably his finest season in 1979 he was named the NFL’s Defensive Linemen of the Year. The NFL Players Association named Selmon the NFC Defensive Lineman of the Year four times.
He chose his brother Dewey as his presenter for his 1995 Hall of Fame enshrinement. Dewey, a linebacker, was Lee Roy’s teammate on national championship teams at Oklahoma and on the Buccaneers.
VIDEO: Reflecting on Lee Roy Selmon>>>
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