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Tramel: Lee Roy Selmon was the best of the best

by Berry Tramel Published: September 4, 2011

So many things made the Selmon brothers special.

Their story, sleeping in the same bed on the old farm in Huttonville, outside Eufaula. Their family, of which I can personally vouch for three generations of quality. Their humility. Their ballplaying. Don't ever forget their ballplaying.

But all these years later, what still strikes me most about the Brothers Selmon is their gentleness. They are gentle men.

Not gentlemen as in opening the door for a lady or keeping your mouth shut when you want to spout off, though they were that, too. But gentle men.

A serene countenance. A peaceful presence. A regal spirit.

Jessie Selmon's baby boy died Sunday. The greatest Sooner of them all is gone. Lee Roy Selmon was 56 and hadn't lived in Oklahoma for more than 35 years. Yet his stature had not diminished.

Lee Roy Selmon was the best of the best. The greatest player. And if not the greatest person, it's only because of the stiff competition coming from that guy in the bed next to him back on the farm, virtual twin Dewey.

These gentle giants awed us, because they belied reality. Playing defensive line, a brutal, violent position in a brutal, violent sport, they excelled without a spirit of aggression. The Selmon brothers were incapable of being mean.

Good thing older brother Lucious was around, with a hint or two of earthiness, else we'd have sworn Lee Roy and Dewey were seraphims. Angelic football players. Who knew such a thing was possible?

Hard to live up to such reverence, but darned if the Selmons haven't done it.

Lucious coached at OU for 20 years, and Dewey stuck around Norman after his NFL days, reminding us of Camelot.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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