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Buccaneers' Hall of Famer Selmon dies at 56

TAMPA BAY (Reuters) - Lee Roy Selmon, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Hall of Fame defensive lineman, died on Sunday two days after suffering a stroke at the age of 56.

Widely recognized as the greatest Buccaneers player of all time, Selmon was one of the franchise's pioneer players and a fierce defensive presence.

The Glazer family, who own the Buccaneers, released a statement on the team's website (buccaneers.com).

"This is an incredibly somber day for Buccaneer fans, and all football fans," it said. "Lee Roy's standing as the first Buc in the Hall of Fame surely distinguished him, but his stature off the field as the consummate gentleman put him in another stratosphere.

"Our hearts go out to the Selmon family at this time of their loss."

Selmon was the first overall pick of the 1976 draft and the first ever selection of the Buccaneers when the franchise entered the NFL.

Selmon retired in 1985 as Tampa Bay's all-time leader in sacks (78.5) and forced fumbles (28.5), records that still stand.

A six-time Pro Bowler, Selmon was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1979 and became the first Tampa Bay player ever inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles)