At every Buccaneer home game the past few seasons, there has been a banner hanging on the east side of Tampa Stadium that reads LEE ROY SELMON FOR HALL OF FAME. "I get to games real early, and I put up that sign before anybody else gets there," says Selmon with a smile. "Truthfully, I get stopped all the time by fans who ask, 'Did you see that sign?' It's nice that someone would do that for me, and I'll make sure that person goes to Canton if I'm ever elected."
If elected, Selmon would become the first Buc in Canton—and the way things have been going in Tampa Bay, he just may be the last. He was the first draft pick in franchise history, in 1976, and was one of the most dominating defensive ends in the game. Before a herniated disk forced him to retire in 1986, Selmon started a team-record 118 games, and he still holds the Buc record for most sacks (78½).
Ted Albrecht, a tackle with the Chicago Bears, once described what it was like to play against the 6'3", 250-pounder: "At halftime I told my coach, I never want to be hit in the mouth by a hockey puck, I don't want to be buried at sea, and I don't want to play the second half against Lee Roy Selmon."
Selmon is on the preliminary list of 58 candidates being considered for the Hall of Fame's class of 1995. The 34 selectors will name 15 finalists on Jan. 13, and the final vote will occur on Jan. 28, the day before Super Bowl XXIX. Four to seven players will make the cut.
Since Selmon became eligible, in 1989, he has never made the list of 15 finalists. The only defensive lineman elected during that time is Randy White of the Cowboys. Says Selmon, who is now an associate athletic director at the University of South Florida, "Being in the Hall of Fame was not one of the goals I set for myself. I never pictured myself as one of the greats. If it happens, I'll be most surprised and most appreciative."
Selmon is not out on the stump, but if elected, he won't demand a recount.