Posted on: September 2, 2011 7:26 pm
Edited on: September 3, 2011 11:52 am

Lee Roy Selmon hospitalized after stroke

Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon remained in "critical condition" at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, Fla, on Saturday, a day after suffering a stroke.

David Lewis, a former Tampa Bay Bucs teammate of Selmon's told The Tampa Tribune, that Selmon was showing signs of improvement and was breathing on his own. Selmon was able to squeeze the hand of his son, Lee Roy Jr., and recognized family members, including older brothers Lucious and Dewey, who flew from Oklahoma to Tampa on Friday, Lewis told the Tribune.

Selmon suffered a stroke in his home on Friday, University of South Florida spokesperson Michael Hoad said. A nursing supervisor at St. Joseph's Hospital said Saturday morning Selmon was in critical condition.

On Friday evening, WTSP-Ch. 10 in Tampa, Fla., quoting three unnamed sources, incorrectly reported that Selmon had died. Soon afterwards, a spokesperson with Selmon's restaurant released a statement expressing "deepest and most profound sorrow that we learned of our dear friend Lee Roy Selmon's passing this afternoon."

Then WTSP-Ch. 10 retracted its report and reported Dewey Selmon told the station Lee Roy was on life support and making progress.

Oklahoma spokesperson Kenny Mossman also posted on Twitter that Selmon was in fact still alive: "Just talked to Selmon family. Lee Roy has not passed away as of [7:37 ET]."

An hour after the restaurant released the statement, the spokesperson at Selmon's restaurant apologized and said the statement had been "prematurely released."

Selmon is 56. He was an All-American at the University of Oklahoma before being drafted as the No. 1 pick of the Tampa Bay Bucs in 1976, playing nine seasons until retiring because of a back injury.

After his playing days with the Bucs ended, he remained in Tampa. He was formerly an assistant athletic director and then athletic director at the University of South Florida until stepping down in February 2004 because of high blood pressure. Before resigning Selmon took a six-week sabbatical in January 2004 because of "heart" and "stress related" problems, Dewey Selmon told me.

Selmon, who played a big part in the start up of football at USF in 1997, has been president of USF's Foundation Partnership for Athletics since 2004. His name is on a chain of restaurants in the Tampa Bay area and a Tampa crosstown expressway is named after him.

He is the only Buccaneer to have his number retired and the first player inducted into the team's Ring of Honor.
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