Lee Roy Selmon, a member of Pro Football’s Hall of Fame, has suffered a stroke at his Tampa, Fla. home Friday and is in extremely critical condition in an area hospital.
The St. Petersburg Times newspaper said the former star defensive lineman, 56, was unresponsive and not breathing when paramedics arrived at his house.
Michael Hoad, a spokesman for the University of South Florida, said Selmon was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital where he is in extremely critical condition.”
On Friday, there was confusion over Selmon’s condition. The restaurant chain that bears his name released a statement that he had died. However, his brother Dewey later told a local TV station that he was alive.
Selmon played his entire eight-year career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and he is their only representative in Canton.
The six-time NFL Pro Bowler also won the prestigious Outland Trophy in 1975 which is awarded annually to the best college interior lineman. In 1979, he won the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year Award.
In 1976, Selmon, coming out of the University of Oklahoma, was the first player selected in the NFL draft and the very first pick of the-then expansion Buccaneers.
His number 63 was retired by the club.
Selmon later served as the athletic director at the University of South Florida from 2001-2004.
Selmon’s health status has elicited waves of sympathetic reaction and remembrance from across football figures.
Lee Roy is such a special person, said Rich McKay, the former general manager of the Buccaneers current president of the Atlanta Falcons, McKay’s father, John, was Selmon's first coach with the Buccaneers.
My dad had the great fortune of coaching a lot of great players, and if he made a list, I couldn't tell you what it would look like. But I know not a lot of guys would be above Lee Roy. If he doesn't come out of this, I'd feel awful for his family and for those who never got to know him because he's such a special guy.''
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn said: In this city, more than any other athlete we've had here, Lee Roy Selmon stood above anyone. He is a hall of fame citizen, he has never stopped giving back and he has always taken time for the fans. Most cities don't have an athlete like him. We are lucky that we do.