FORT MYERS, Fla.- Floridians are mourning the loss of Lee Roy Selmon, a NFL Hall of Famer remembered for pushing the limits on and off the field.
He's remembered for doing things big. But whether it be tackles, business ventures, or barbeque, Lee Roy Selmon was known even better for bringing a whole lot of heart to everything he touched.
"He was just a soft-spoken man who went about his business doing things the right way," Lee Roy Selmon's Fort Myers restaurant manager Chad Hicks said Monday.
The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end was hailed as the heart behind the Bucs' early days.
But aside from his standout football career, Selmon touched Floridians through his food. He started up the Lee Roy Selmon's restaurant chain back in 2000 and opened one restaurant in Fort Myers five years ago.
"What we always loved was that he'd come in and walk around the whole restaurant, say hi to everybody, shake everybody's hand," Hicks said.
The legendary Bucs defensive end passed away on Sunday at age 56, after suffering a massive stroke. On Monday, Southwest Florida paid it's respects by paying a visit to Selmon's Daniels Parkway restaurant.
"We read the paper this morning that Lee Roy had passed, so in honor of him since we're big Bucs fans, we decided to come and have lunch in his honor," Tom Marquardt said Monday.
While staffers say Selmon's spirit will live on through the restaurant's soul-filled recipes, his death is being heralded as one giant loss.
"Absolutely a sad day. We'll definitely take his memory forward as his company, but we're all definitely going to mourn the loss of a great man," Hicks said.
A memorial service will be held in Tampa, before Selmon's body is flown to his home state of Oklahoma for burial.