Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 10/19/12
He was the beloved giant of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers whose towering presence was felt in life and since his sudden passing last year after a stroke at age 56. Its hard to go anywhere in this community without encountering some aspect of Lee Roy Selmons wide-ranging achievements. Theres Raymond James Stadium, where his name was the first to grace the Ring of Honor, commemorating his career as the only Hall of Famer in Bucs history. Theres the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway in Tampa, the chain of high-end barbecue restaurants that bear his familiar name and the University of South Florida that has a football team and a home in the Big East Conference thanks in large part to his tireless efforts as athletic director. So it seems only fitting that Selmon the first draft pick of the expansion Bucs would be forever memorialized with his own day throughout the state of Florida. That honor was officially bestowed on him in a Friday press conference at One Buc Place, where state Rep. James Grant presented a resolution naming Oct. 20 as Lee Roy Selmon Day on what would have been Selmons 58th birthday. On hand to accept the honor was Selmons widow, Claybra. She and her three children Brandy, Lee Roy Jr. and Christopher were also was presented with similar resolutions on behalf of Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa. "There are a lot of players who have sat either in this room or the old trailers that have come after Lee Roy Selmon," Grant said at the event. "There are a lot of fantastic football players who have worn the uniform after Lee Roy Selmon. But Lee Roy's left a legacy here, and he's set a standard for all of us, whether we ever played football or have any sort of involvement in this community. More important than anything we do is to leave a place better than we found it, to give more than we ever take from it. I hope that as we leave today we do remember that we have an assignment, and that we never forget the impact of Lee Roy and his entire family on our community. His family, presented with all three proclamations, was especially touched. "This is very bittersweet, but mostly sweet," Claybra Selmon told the crowd. "I just miss Lee Roy being here to witness all of this. Her late husband was known for his gentle, soft-spoken demeanor off the field, but for a relentless style on it that propelled him to six Pro Bowl selections even on one of the losingest NFL franchises of its day. I had the opportunity to cover Selmon in those early seasons first on spot duty as a young sportswriter new to the Tampa Bay area in 1978 after the Bucs finally emerged from their dreary the 0-26 start and then in the early-to-mid-1980s as the Bucs and NFL beat writer for the then-St. Petersburg Times. He was the rock-solid foundation of the defense regardless of how bad things got. Yet even in the 0-9 start of 1983 under the late John McKay, Selmon was always even-keeled, patient and approachable. Selmons career was cut short well before its time. He suffered a back injury a herniated disc in the Pro Bowl after the 1984 season and would never play again. By 30, he officially left the game he loved and on which he made an indelible mark and began a new path in life as a college administrator, restaurant entrepreneur and businessman whose name is on a branch of the Fifth Third Bank in Tampa. Selmon died last year on Sept. 4, triggering a wave of shock, sadness and tributes throughout the Tampa Bay area and across the country. His passing came the day after the Bulls enjoyed the biggest win in school history: a major upset of the Fighting Irish, 23-20, at fabled Notre Dame Stadium. The biggest tribute of all came Friday, ensuring that Selmons name will live on throughout the state he helped enrich in so many ways. One of those in attendance was USF president Judy Genshaft, who remarked, Its hard to believe that it's been more than a year since our fantastic Lee Roy has been gone. Tomorrow marks a birthday for him, and what better way to celebrate his extraordinary life than by celebrating Lee Roy Selmon Day together." Information from buccaneers.com was used in this report
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