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Lee Roy Selmon | Ring of Honor | Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ring of Honor

Lee Roy Selmon

Lee Roy Selmon

Upon establishing the Ring of Honor in 2009, there was no question as to who the Buccaneers would choose to recognize with the inaugural induction. Lee Roy Selmon, referred to by some as the original Buccaneer, served as the franchise's cornerstone for nearly a decade, earning numerous accolades on the field and becoming one of the Bay area's most beloved figures off of it. On November 9, 2009, Selmon's name and number were added as permanent fixtures on the wall at Raymond James Stadium, as the man known for being Tampa Bay's shining bright spot in during its difficult fledgling years was recognized with the team's highest distinction.

Selmon joined the Buccaneers as a first-round draft choice – and the team's first-ever draft selection – in 1976 out of Oklahoma. While with the Sooners, Selmon was a member of eight All-America teams and won both the Outland and Lombardi trophies during his senior season. But as decorated as his collegiate career may have been, Selmon was an even greater professional player, easily the most outstanding to date in team history. The Buccaneers' all-time career sack leader (78.5), he anchored a ferocious defense which led the team to its first-ever NFC Central Division Championship in 1979. 

Selmon managed to establish numerous team records despite having his career prematurely shortened due to a herniated disk suffered at the end of the 1984 season. At the time of his retirement, his lengthy list of Buccaneer records included: career sacks (78.5), sacks in a season (13) and career forced fumbles (28.5). In addition, he was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1979 and NFC Defensive Lineman of the Year by the NFL Players Association four times (1979-80, 1982-83). His number 63 became the first and only jersey retired by the Buccaneers on September 7, 1986.

Selmon's on-the-field contributions were equaled only by his incredible generosity off the field. He was a perennial contender for the NFL Man of the Year and the Byron "Whizzer" White Award for humanitarian service. Following his retirement, Selmon remained highly visible, occupying a seat on the board of the Tampa Sports Authority and taking on responsibility of building the University of South Florida's football program. Selmon served as Associate Athletic Director at USF from August of 1994 until being named Athletic Director in June 2001. He held that spot until 2004 and was entrusted with the primary task of procuring funds for the University's successful efforts to form a football team. 

In a heartbreaking turn for the entire Bay area, Selmon passed away on September 4, 2011, surrounded by family and friends, two days after suffering a stroke at the age of 56. 

Selmon was born in Eufaula, Oklahoma and was the youngest of nine children, including his brother, Dewey, who played for the Buccaneers from 1976-80, and Lucious, who coached for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Selmon is survived by his wife, Claybra, and the couple's three children: Brandy, Lee Roy, Jr. and Christopher.