Lee Roy Selmon - everyone has lost a friend
There was always this long-standing joke between myself and Phil Jones. That he had met Lee Roy Selmon and I hadn't. Twice I had arranged to meet him at his restaurant and both times he had been called out of town on business but had left signed pictures for me.
There was also another time when he arranged for dinner for myself, Kerrie and Tanith to be on the house but still I had not met the great man.
Then came the Wembley game in 2009. We had arranged a touch football game with the UK Patriots in Richmond Park and the Bucs had promised "some alumni" for the event. Lo and behold out of the car steps No.63 himself.
The actual clip of what I said at the time could not be used by NFL Films as I was as stunned as anyone. But not half as much as when he introduced himself to me with the comment "I've always wanted to meet you."
That was Lee Roy Selmon. The greatest Buccaneer on the field. The greatest Buccaneer off it too. More than just a player, an icon, a true legend in every sense of the word. Revered in Tampa in the same way as Bobby Moore or Bobby Charlton are here in England.
Two weeks later, Phil, Nick Houllis and I were invited to One Buc Place for a special evening honoring Lee Roy. We were the only non-players there and it was a magical evening. His wife Claybra spent ages telling me how much they had enjoyed the UK trip and how he was so appreciated by the British fans.
There are so many people in the Bucs UK who had the chance to meet this amazing man at that Richmond Park event. And for everyone, he was gracious and kind, taking time to make sure the picture was right, that the autographs were what people wanted.
I only became a Buccaneer fan in 1982 and never saw a live game until long after he had retired from the field of battle. But every game I have seen since, I am drawn to his right end position, to see him beat one, normally two blockers on his way to the quarterback. He would flatten some poor passer and then help the guy back up before going back to do it all over again.
The list of honours Lee Roy achieved on the field is immense. What he achieved off it exceeded that. Right now, God has just hit on his latest first round draft pick.
Today I have lost a friend. Today, every Buccaneer fan has lost a friend.
You've been great - enjoy the memories of Lee Roy Selmon's life.