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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

On special day, Bucs honoree Giles thinks of pal Selmon

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Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 10:11 AM
TAMPA -

Everyone knew what was behind the banner on the east-side façade of Raymond James Stadium.

88 Giles

But when it was revealed, when former Buccaneers tight end Jimmie Giles was officially inducted into the team's Ring of Honor during halftime of Sunday afternoon's game against the Carolina Panthers, his eyes first noticed something else.

63 Selmon

Surrounded by a contingent of family and friends that numbered 160, along with members of the 1981 NFC Central Division champion Bucs, Giles thought about the man who couldn't be there.

Giles reflected on Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon, the team's inaugural Ring of Honor selection in 2009, who died on Sept. 4.

"It was nice to see my name up there, but I saw Lee Roy's name first,'' said Giles, who joined Selmon and the late coach John McKay in the Ring of Honor. "I was so saddened that he passed. We talked about doing so many things together. He was going to walk me through all of this.

"I know he's here in spirit.''

The spirit of Giles, the four-time Pro Bowler, came alive during a video tribute, in which his size and game-breaking speed was displayed. Giles played 121 games with Tampa Bay, catching 279 passes for 4,300 yards and 34 touchdowns. He's still the only Buccaneer to score four touchdowns in one game.

"This is so nice for Jimmie because in the era when they played, they just weren't recognized,'' said Giles' wife, Vivian, who was accompanied by their children, Jimmie Jr., Johnathan and Candace, along with about 65 "blood relatives.''

"And I know about that number because I helped to cook dinner for them,'' she said. "It has been quite a celebration.''

Giles said he was overwhelmed by it all.

"I thought about the struggles we had initially as Tampa Bay Buccaneers, how people didn't respect us,'' Giles said. "It took me back to the days of 1979, when we won our respect. It took me back to Lee Roy Selmon.

"It took me back to John McKay and what he did, getting together a bunch of misfits and making us into a championship team. I still think that was an amazing feat. Being around all the teammates, it just brings all those feelings back.''

As Giles was interviewed in the tunnel after his induction, his daughter Candace couldn't stop smiling as she stood nearby.

"I was 5 when he retired from the NFL,'' Candace said. "I don't have any memories, so this is great to see. I think he loves all of this. We've had a great weekend.''

And it didn't stop there.

The Giles family planned a wrap-up dinner on Sunday night.

At Lee Roy Selmon's restaurant.

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