Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

One year later, Lee Roy Selmon's absence still felt

TAMPA — As a man who left his mark all over the city, Lee Roy Selmon's presence is still easy to find on the one-year anniversary of his death.

In life, of course, Selmon could drive on the road bearing his name, could enjoy a meal in his restaurant namesakes; in memory, his name is even more present, attached to banking centers and the main athletic facility at USF. His legacy is everywhere.

"God has done a great job of bringing us peace," his son, former USF football player Lee Roy Selmon Jr., said Saturday after a day at Busch Gardens with his daughter, Leah, who turns 6 this week. "We've been able to find joy, just knowing he's in a better place. … He left his footprints on this community, touched a lot of people. It's even more of a blessing to see his legacy live on in the Tampa Bay area."

That may be strongest at USF, where Selmon served as athletic director and current student-athletes knew him as a daily presence in the building that now carries his name. A plaque outside the main entrance pays tribute to Selmon as "an enduring example of integrity, academic excellence, compassion, competitiveness and commitment to young people," and those sentiments live on.

"Having somebody like that on your side is amazing," senior running back Demetris Murray said. "He was the true epitome of being a Bull. He came here every day, had a smile on his face and loved what he did. It's really heavy on our hearts this week, knowing it's been a year already. I know a lot of guys will play with that on their minds. We want to put it all on the line, like he did every day for the USF family."

Selmon's death, at age 56 after suffering a stroke in his Tampa home, came last year on the night before USF opened its football season with a win at Notre Dame, and the Bulls wore decals on their helmets last year with the initials and number — LRS 63 — of the man who played a central role in bringing football to USF.

Football coach Skip Holtz remembers less than two weeks before Selmon died, when he and his father, legendary coach Lou Holtz, sat with him at USF's preseason kickoff dinner. After the meal, he and his dad talked a good 20 minutes about how special Selmon was and what a blessing it was to have him a part of the Bulls' athletic program.

"He has made an impact on our players, on their lives," Holtz said. "I think Lee Roy had an impact on anybody he had the opportunity to interact with. There are a lot of memories. I remember his smiling face, his gentle spirit, just the way he interacted with people. I miss having the opportunity to just go down to his office and sit and talk."

The beauty of it was you didn't have to be the football coach to command Selmon's attention; for countless athletes, what might have been a walk-by brush with a legend turned into a full conversation with a man who took time to listen to today's athletes, to offer warm encouragement, and at times, even envy their youth.

Bulls defensive end Ryne Giddins, who grew up locally and knew well of Selmon's playing career, remembers one USF practice when he saw Selmon, a regular visitor on the sideline, approached him after a drill.

"He came up to me one time and said, 'I wish I was like you,' " Giddins said. "I was like, 'What? I wish I was like you!' I'm grateful to have the opportunity to see him and talk with him while he was here. Knowing someone of that caliber can come down and talk to us, it's amazing."

Selmon, the only Bucs player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is also a member of the Bucs' Ring of Honor. His impact on the only team he played for remains strong, as seen in another generation of Bucs players trying to follow his lead.

"When he pops into your head, you try and think of football, but it's hard because he was such a great person and was so much more than that," said Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who followed Selmon's football path from Oklahoma to Tampa Bay. "He was just so nice when you met him. I just really try to remember the things that he taught me and always use those things in my life. It doesn't feel like a year."

On Saturday, for the first time, the chain of restaurants bearing his name will open a new location, its eighth, without his smiling presence at its Brandon location. And while Selmon's enthusiasm and personality are sorely missed, his spirit is still there, in much more than just the menu.

"I do think of Lee Roy every day," said Outback Steakhouse co-founder Chris Sullivan, a restaurant partner of Selmon's. "He was such an inspirational, wonderful human being. We felt very strongly that Lee Roy's legacy, because of who he was, would remain strong in this community for a long time.

"We feel like we can celebrate Lee Roy's life and legend by continuing to operate and open Lee Roy Selmon's restaurants. We're proud to be associated with Lee Roy and his family, and we'll continue to honor him that way."

 
Comments
NFL’s new anthem policy requires players to stand on sideline or remain in locker room

NFL’s new anthem policy requires players to stand on sideline or remain in locker room

ATLANTA — The NFL and the owners of its 32 teams enacted a new national anthem policy Wednesday designed, they said, to compel players to stand if they’re on the sideline for the playing of the anthem prior to a game."Clearly our objective as a leagu...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Bucs bring back Lakewood’s Bernard Reedy to compete for WR/KR job

Bucs bring back Lakewood’s Bernard Reedy to compete for WR/KR job

Lakewood grad Bernard Reedy, who handled the Bucs' kickoff and punt returns for much of last season, is back with Tampa Bay again.Reedy, 26, was signed on Wednesday, one day after the Bucs began OTA workouts. Thomas Sperbeck, the former Boise State r...
Updated: 11 hours ago
NFL policy: Players can stay inside during anthem if they won’t stand

NFL policy: Players can stay inside during anthem if they won’t stand

NFL owners passed a new policy Wednesday with the hopes of moving on from boycotts and political turmoil related to some players protesting by not standing during the national anthem before games.Under the new policy, NFL players are not required to ...
Published: 05/23/18
New Super Bowls: Arizona in 2023, New Orleans in 2024

New Super Bowls: Arizona in 2023, New Orleans in 2024

And you thought our headline would be "Mariota hosts NFL draft before Winston."The NFL owners are meeting in Atlanta this week, and that means a new batch of future Super Bowls getting announced for their homes.A year ago, Tampa got the huge news, an...
Published: 05/23/18
Winston: Bucs’ Ryan Jensen ‘one of the toughest, meanest, baddest centers’

Winston: Bucs’ Ryan Jensen ‘one of the toughest, meanest, baddest centers’

It's hard to miss new Bucs center Ryan Jensen at OTA workouts this week, with his long red hair visible from across the field even when he's wearing a helmet."Any recommendations for anti frizz shampoo and conditioner?" Jensen wrote on Twitter with a...
Published: 05/23/18
Gerald McCoy appreciates help on D-line, but knows it will take more than names on paper

Gerald McCoy appreciates help on D-line, but knows it will take more than names on paper

TAMPA — He's 30."I know. I'm getting old," Gerald McCoy said Tuesday, shaking his head.He's still a young man, of course. But in football years, McCoy has finally reached a black balloon birthday. This is his ninth season with the Bucs, which i...
Published: 05/22/18
HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

Former Gators and Bucs linebacker Scot Brantley, also once a popular sports radio host in Tampa, is battling Alzheimer's Disease and has been rejected from the NFL's concussion settlement, according to tonight's episode of HBO's "Real Sports with Bry...
Published: 05/22/18
Bucs’ Mike Evans: Yards after catch must improve in 2018

Bucs’ Mike Evans: Yards after catch must improve in 2018

Mike Evans is one of just three receivers in NFL history to open his career with four straight 1,000-yard seasons, but he understands one area where he can make a big improvement in 2018: yards after the catch."I think last year was my worst year in ...
Published: 05/22/18
Gerald McCoy: Sorry, but Vita Vea is Maui from Moana

Gerald McCoy: Sorry, but Vita Vea is Maui from Moana

If you've been dipping your toes in the "Gosh, Vita Vea looks a lot like the guy from Disney's Moana" pool, Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has jumped in all the way.The Bucs' 347-pound rookie is massive, has a family history on the Pacific island...
Published: 05/22/18
Jason Pierre-Paul, Brent Grimes absent as Bucs open OTA practices

Jason Pierre-Paul, Brent Grimes absent as Bucs open OTA practices

The Bucs started another chapter of their offseason Tuesday with the first OTA (organized team activity) practice at One Buc Place, with veterans Jason Pierre-Paul and Brent Grimes as the only healthy players absent from what is officially a voluntar...
Published: 05/22/18