(Courtesy of NFL.com)
In 10 seasons with the Bucs, Lee Roy Selmon compiled 78½ sacks and was selected to the Pro Bowl six times. He was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1979, the year Tampa Bay won its first-ever NFC Central championship, and NFC Defensive Lineman of the Year four times.
An edited transcript of his chat on NFL.com during the Bucs' game against Detroit follows:
Nathan Johnson: How has the position of defensive end changed, in your opinion, since you have retired?
Lee Roy Selmon: The position hasn't really changed a lot; I think the game itself has changed the position quite a bit, to where defensive ends can be expected to rush the passer a lot more than in the past. When I played, there was a lot more reading and reacting, and now it's more getting off the ball quickly.
Texasbucfan: Lee Roy, What's your greatest memory about the great season of 1979?
Lee Roy Selmon: Probably the playoff game against Philadelphia. They'd had a phenomenal year, and that was our very first playoff game. There was an electricity in the stadium, to where you could tell it was something different, far greater than a regular season game.
Sajid Ismail: I heard your son is starting at the University of South Florida. Are we going to see another Lee Roy Selmon dominating the NFL?
Lee Roy Selmon: I'm just pulling for Lee Roy, Jr. to be the best that he can be. Whether that means going to the next level in the NFL or not, I don't know. But right now it's about school and college and getting his education and having some fun with the USF Bulls.
Sam ross: While you were playing, you were also involved in different businesses such as banking. What are you doing professionally now?
Lee Roy Selmon: I'm currently an associate athletic director for external affairs at the University of South Florida. I'm involved in development efforts for all our programs, and I'm going to open a restaurant in the next couple of months at Lois and Boy Scout (roads) in Tampa.
dabucfan: Do you feel that the current losing streak is a character builder that could lead the Bucs to the Super Bowl or is this a sign that we still need some improvement before we can go to the Big Game?
Lee Roy Selmon: I think the Bucs are a very talented football team. The games that they've lost — I thought they played the better game, it's just that a break or two here or there cost the game. I think what's going wrong can be easily fixed, and they've been in this position, it's nothing strange to them. With one win, they can get on track and win several in a row; they have that kind of ability. I'm not worried.
Peter Schneider: Lee Roy what do you think of Warren Sapp?
Lee Roy Selmon: Warren is an outstanding football player. He's very consistent season-to-season and game-to-game, and that's what sets him apart from your other top defensive lineman around the league. You can tell that he loves to play, he's having fun out there. It's a joy to watch him play.
Soonermark1: Hi Leroy, BOOMER SOONER! How do you think the Bucs defense today compares to when you were playing? How do you like Bob Stoops and the job he has done at Oklahoma?
Lee Roy Selmon: I think the Bucs' defense is just as good or better than we were playing in our best year, which was the 1979 season. They're very talented across the board, and are very consistent in their play; they come to play every game. Bob Stoops is doing an outstanding job at Oklahoma; they're getting back into the old picture of being in the conversation for the national championship. It hopefully will continue for the rest of the season.
Randy Taylor: Can you tell us a little bit about your touchdown in 1979?
Lee Roy Selmon: Well, it was a play that was very special — we were playing the Lions on opening day. I was coming off a leg injury from the previous season, and it was my first time in a game situation, wondering how it would hold up. On that particular play, Wally Chambers forced the fumble and I picked it up and ran it back 25 yards for a touchdown. It was significant in that it symbolized that I was back at full speed.
Jammin': What do you consider the highlight of your career?
Lee Roy Selmon: I would say the highlight of my career is a season — the 1979 season. A lot of firsts happened for the team, a lot of history was made that year, so it was a season-long highlight that culminated with coming within nine points of the Super Bowl. It was something I will never forget.
Lee Roy Selmon: Have a safe and happy holiday season! Enjoy the rest of the NFL season, cheering for your favorite teams, and remember — it is a game, the sun will rise tomorrow if the outcome is not what you expect or want.