TAMPA The legacy of Lee Roy Selmon expands statewide on Saturday.
A state proclamation designating Oct. 20, 2012, as Lee Roy Selmon Day across Florida was presented Friday to Selmon's widow, Claybra, during a special gathering at One Buc Place.
State Rep. James Grant of Tampa presented Claybra Selmon with a framed copy of the proclamation during a news conference to honor the former Tampa Bay Buccaneer and Hall of Fame defensive lineman on what would have been his 58th birthday.
Selmon died Sept. 4, 2011, after a massive stroke.
"It's very bittersweet, but mostly sweet, and I just miss Lee Roy being here to witness all of this,'' said Claybra Selmon, who was joined on stage by their three children.
A commemorative plaque also was awarded by Tampa City Councilman Charlie Miranda and Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner.
"We come together today to honor a man and a family who left this community far better than it was when they encountered it,'' said Grant, who sponsored House Resolution 9097. "It's a day that is quite humbling to celebrate the recognition of what the Selmon family has meant to our community.''
After retiring from football, Selmon remained in the Tampa area. He made a strong impact on the community, particularly through his ties with the University of South Florida, where he eventually served as associate athletic director.
The school, which already named the athletic center after Selmon, is starting a program called Mentoring U Selmon Style, which will assist USF student athletes through a mentoring program that partners with local professional experts and leaders. A portion of proceeds from the Legacy Menu at Lee Roy Selmon's restaurants, owned by the Outback Steakhouse founders, will help fund the program.
"It's wonderful to see the state and the city saluting Lee Roy for the things he has done in this community and the way he gave himself away to the city and the state of Florida," Claybra Selmon said. "Lee Roy was devoted to this community in a very public way and it's nice to see that love returned to him. It's very deserving.''
Much of Selmon's private life was kept out of the public spotlight, but a new memoir by Claybra is expected to publish in the spring, according to Tate Publishing.
Though it was football that made Selmon a household name, it turned out to be just a platform for the message he delivered and the impact he had on those fortunate enough to cross paths with him.
"Lee Roy Selmon put the Buccaneers and even Tampa Bay on the map,'' Buccaneers co-chairman Bryan Glazer said.
"It was more than his dominant play on the field that made him the everlasting face of this franchise. It was his incredible heart and inherent goodness. It was his drive to have a positive impact where ever he went and his humility through all of it. We were all blessed to have him for the time we had him.''