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To Honor The Late Lee Roy Selmon

Rep. Kathy Castor

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the life and career of Lee Roy Selmon, a Hall of Fame football player and a pillar of the Tampa Bay community. As a player, Lee Roy Selmon was one of the greatest Buccaneers of all time, and his post-football career was equally distinguished.

The youngest of nine children, Lee Roy Selmon would join two of his older brothers on the defensive line at the University of Oklahoma in 1972. Referred to as a ``Gentle Giant'' by his peers, he would go on to be elected to the College Football Hall of Fame, leading Oklahoma to two national championships in 1974 and 1975. In 1999 Sports Illustrated magazine selected Selmon as a member of their NCAA Football All-Century Team.

In 1976, Selmon would join the Tampa Bay community as the first-ever draft pick of the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He proceeded to distinguish himself as one of the greatest NFL players of all time; during his career with the Buccaneers, he was selected to six consecutive Pro Bowls and named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1979. The Buccaneers retired his number, 63, in 1986, and in 1995 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In 2008, Lee Roy Selmon became the first-ever inductee into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ring of Honor, a fitting distinction for the original Buccaneer.

Lee Roy Selmon's professional accomplishments after his retirement from football are numerous; he was a philanthropist and a banker, an athletic director and an entrepreneur. The University of South Florida football program will forever bear his mark--as the Athletic Director during the Bull's emergence as a Division 1-A football team, the program greatly benefitted from Selmon's able stewardship.

Above all, those who knew Lee Roy Selmon speak of his decency, his kindness, his gentle nature, and his integrity as often as they speak of his athletic and professional accomplishments. He was undoubtedly one of the Tampa Bay area's greatest ambassadors.

The Tampa Bay community is proud to honor the life of Lee Roy Selmon, a great athlete and a man of character. His greatness and his humility continue to inspire those who knew him, and I ask that you and all Americans join me in honoring such a remarkable man.