One day after suffering a stroke, Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon was showing signs of improvement and responsiveness Saturday, his former Buccaneers teammate, David Lewis, told The Tampa Tribune.
Lewis told the newspaper that Selmon was able to squeeze the hand of his son, Lee Roy Jr., and that he recognized family members. Selmon was breathing on his own, according to Lewis.
Dewey Selmon, his brother, said the family is awaiting the results of tests taken Saturday morning to better define his condition.
"We're happy with the progress he has made," Dewey added. "Lee Roy is a fighter. It's just a delicate situation, and we're all waiting."
Dewey said he was told by doctors the first 48 hours following a stroke are very important and more information will be available this weekend.
A nursing supervisor at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, Fla., told the Tribune that Selmon was listed in critical condition Saturday morning.
The Tulsa World, citing a source close to Selmon, first reported Friday that Selmon had suffered the stroke. The newspaper's source added that it was "pretty bad."
Initially, there was some confusion about Selmon's condition, especially after a spokesperson for his restaurant chain issued a statement that expressed "deep and profound sorrow that we learned of our dear friend Lee Roy Selmon's passing this afternoon." Dewey Selmon quickly refuted that, telling WTSP-TV that his brother was "showing signs of progress."
The spokesperson who emailed the restaurant press release then tweeted, according to the St. Petersburg Times: "It appears that the original statement about Lee Roy Selmon's passing was prematurely released."
Selmon was the expansion Bucs' first-ever draft pick (No. 1 overall in 1976), then went to six consecutive Pro Bowls and was the 1979 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He retired after the 1984 season because of a back injury, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995, becoming the first Bucs player to receive the honor.
Selmon was named the 98th-best player in NFL Network's "Top 100 Greatest Players of All Time." His No. 63 is the only number retired by the Buccaneers, and a Tampa freeway is named after him.
Selmon played college football at Oklahoma, winning the Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy in 1975. He also was a two-time All-American.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.