Proclaimed by many as the greatest player in the storied history of Oklahoma football, Hall of Fame defensive lineman Lee Roy Selmon suffered a major stroke Friday at his home in Tampa, Fla. According to Tampa’s 10News, the 56-year-old Selmon was found unconscious and not breathing when first responders arrived and transported him to a hospital. University of South Florida spokesperson Michael Hoad said, “USF is staying in close touch with the Selmon family and (they) said that Selmon is in serious condition at the hospital (Friday night).” Selmon served as USF’s athletic director from 2001 to 2004 and assistant athletic director from 1993 to 2001. He currently ispresident of theUSF Foundation Partnership for Athletics, a fundraising organization at the school. KFOR-TV reported Selmon’s brother, Lucious, told a former teammate he did not think his brother was going to survive and said they were told Lee Roy had a 20 percent chance of survival with brain damage. Lee Roy Selmon’s niece, Shannon, reportedly sent an email to family members asking for thoughts and prayers. She wrote Selmon has a blood clot in his heart. Officials from the Lee Roy Selmon’s Restaurants chain issued a statement early Friday evening that stated Selmon had died. The statement expressed “profound sorrow” at Selmon’s passing, but the group later said the statement was “prematurely released.” Selmon family members in Oklahoma were en route to Florida to be by Lee Roy’s side. OU football coach Barry Switzer has deemed Selmon the best player he ever coached. “People just tend to think skilled players are the best players, but Lee Roy Selmon was the greatest player I ever had play,” Switzer said. “He totally dominated his position. In the 30 years I was in coaching, I’d always hear about how inconsistent a guy would play, or that he had a poor game. Lee Roy Selmon never had a poor game.” A native of Eufaula, Selmon won both the Lombardi and Outland trophies as the nation’s outstanding collegiate lineman in 1975 and was the first player selected in the 1976 NFL Draft and the first draft choice in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers history. “I’m humbled,” Selmon of being considered the greatest Sooner ever. “You can say that about a lot of my teammates and other great players over the years. One thing at playing at the University of Oklahoma was great people and talented players.” Lee Roy was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and in 1995 became the first player in OU history to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Selmon played alongside brothers Dewey and Lucious at OU, forming one of the toughest defensive fronts in college football history. “The fortunes of Oklahoma football changed defensively,” said former Sooners assistant Larry Lacewell, who initially had Lucious as part of a back-up recruiting plan and wound up landing the Selmon mother lode. “We went from OK the first year Lucious got there in 1970, to great. When I had the three of them in 1973, we were one of the greatest defensive teams in history. “And they’re the reason.” The Selmons have long been considered the First Family of Oklahoma Football. “A very happy family. A very supportive family,” Lee Roy told The Oklahoman last month. “To this day, we support each other. As I look back on that, the love that our parents shared with us and the love that we have for each other is the most important thing we have.” “I just love it that we are all believers in Christ, which is quite remarkable in itself, and probably what holds us together, the way that we do. It’s a great feeling to know that you can call on any of your brothers and sisters and know that they’ll be there.” With at least one Selmon in the starting lineup, the Sooners went 54-3-1, won two national titles and four Big Eight crowns. Dewey presented Lee Roy at the NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio, where Lucious also was in attendance. “For 31 years, he was my celibate wife,” Dewey said of Lee Roy. “We went on dinner dates together. In fact, for our senior prom it was I who took him there ... I really feel with all of my heart that Lee Roy belongs here (in the Hall).” During his NFL Hall of Fame induction speech, Lee Roy said of his mother and father, Jessie and Lucious Sr.: “People have said, ‘Your parents must be proud of you,’ but I’m more proud of them. I was the youngest of nine children. I always wondered, with Dewey being the eighth child and just 11 months older than me, if I was a planned child. I never asked. I’m just glad I’m here.” Lee Roy also thanked his Tampa Bay teammates for his induction. “I know it’s not me,” he said. “It’s an us and a we.” Dewey, a defensive tackle, was a second-round pick by the Buccaneers that same year and played five more seasons alongside Lee Roy. Lee Roy and Dewey went 43-2-1 at OU. At Tampa, they lost their first 26 games. Roughly 100 die-hard Buccaneers fans were on hand at Lee Roy’s NFL Hall of Fame induction. “It’s amazing,” Lee Roy said that day. “You’re 0-20, 0-21, and there’s still 50,000 people showing up ... and not with bags over their heads.” After retiring from football, Selmon remained a mythical figure in Tampa. He owns a restaurant chain, helped build the USF athletic department and Tampa’s Crosstown Expressway was renamed Lee Roy Selmon Expressway. “When I talk to young people I tell them to be humble, be grateful for your opportunity to play sports in high school,” Selmon told The Oklahoman last September. “If you have the opportunity to play in college be grateful and humble about it, appreciate it and take advantage of it, not just as a player but the entire college experience as a student, a person growing, gaining character. Football is a means to a bigger end.” Gary Shelton of the St. Petersburg Times once wrote of Selmon: “He is perhaps the most genuine, most dignified former star who ever walked. His nature is so placid, it amazes you he could conjure such a physical player from it.” At the time of his NFL Hall of Fame induction, many believed Selmon was the best defensive end to play the game at any level. “There were players who took plays off. There were players who took games off,” Switzer said. “Lee Roy Selmon played at such a high level because of his consistency. He had no valleys. It was always peaks. There were no dips with him.” “He was such a tremendous athlete, people have made the statement he was never knocked off his feet. When you see him make plays on film, Lee Roy Selmon would make tackles and lay people down. Everybody else would have crumpled to the ground, and Lee Roy Selmon would still be standing up.” While Switzer was coaching the Dallas Cowboys, NFL Hall of Famer Howie Long approached him in the lobby of the Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix during the annual NFL meetings. “Coach, I just wanted you to know I patterned my game after Lee Roy Selmon,” Long told Switzer. “He was the guy I marveled at, and I wanted my game to be as good as his.” On Sept. 28, 2002, Selmon was honored at halftime on Owen Field, where the No. 2-ranked Sooners beat USF 31-14. “There’s nobody more appreciated that’s played here,” OU coach Bob Stoops said of Selmon earlier that week. “Our players understand that. Our fans realize it. Believe me, Lee Roy Selmon — and really the entire Selmon family — have a very special place at OU. Always will.” Last month, Lucious joined Lee Roy as a member of the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame. That same night, Switzer suggested an on-campus statue honoring all three brothers. “The Selmon brothers are unique,” Switzer said. “Never before and never since have three brothers ever started and played side by side in the history of major-college football. Hopefully, someday, a heroic statue of the Selmon brothers in uniform will be on our campus at the University of Oklahoma.” The Oklahoman’s John Helsley and Mike Baldwin contributed to this report.