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Ray Guy, first Pro Football Hall of Fame punter, dies at 72

Ray Guy, the first punter to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, died on Thursday. He was 72 years old.

Southern Mississippi, where Guy starred before becoming the first punter taken in the first round of the NFL Draft, said he died after a long illness. He was caring at a Hattiesburg-area hospice.

Guy was drafted 23rd overall by the Al Davis Raiders in 1973 and played his entire 14-year career with the team. He was a three-time All-Pro selection. In 2014, he became the first player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame notably for his punting.

Los Angeles Raiders vs Washington Redskins
Ray Guy #8 of the Los Angeles Raiders punches the ball against Washington during an NFL football game at RFK Stadium in Washington DC on October 2, 1983.

Attention Sport / Getty Images


“Well, much was written when Ray Guy was coveted in Canton about how his election as the first true punter created a ‘full roster’ of players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Too often overlooked, However, the man behind his powerful right leg was,” Hall of Fame President Jim Porter said in a statement.

“Ray was a warm, humble Southern gentleman who at all times represented the game, the Raiders organization and the Hall of Fame with dignity and class,” he said.

“A truly talented athlete, he could have been a star in Major League Baseball or pro basketball. NFL fans thank Ray for his focus on football,” Porter said.

Guy was selected to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team and Team of the Decade of the 1970s. He was a three-time Super Bowl champion and a seven-time Pro Bowl selection.

As CBSSports.com notes, Guy’s biggest game in the NFL would have come in Super Bowl XVIII, when he managed to pull off a high snap with one hand before making a 40-plus-yard punt and preventing a potential Washington touchdown. . The Raiders won the game 38-9.

A native of Thomson, Georgia, Guy is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the National High School Sports Hall of Fame.

In southern Mississippi, the cow also played a defensive role. He still shares the school single-season record for most interceptions, with eight in 1972.

Guy ended his NFL career in 1986 with a streak of 619 punts without a hitch. But it took almost three decades for him to be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He was a finalist for induction seven times without voting in 1992 and did not do so on other occasions.

“That kind of upset me because they were saying it’s not a position, it doesn’t need an athlete to do it, it’s not important,” Guy said before his Hall of Fame inductee in 2014 was.

“This is what really got under my skin. It wasn’t so much whether I did or not. I wish someone had. It was just knowing they didn’t care,” he said.

“That’s how I got a little cold.”

The boy revolutionized the situation in many ways.

His kicks went so high that hitting the Superdome scoreboard 90 feet above the ground in the Pro Bowl helped put “hang time” in the vernacular of football. His ability to pin an opponent deep with either high kicks or well-positioned ones was a key part of the success of the great Raiders teams of the 1970s and ’80s.

“It was something that was given to me. I don’t know how,” he said. “I’m really blessed to be in that category. It’s something that I really appreciate and I upgraded it and I turned it into something great.”

Cow figures seem somewhat pedestrian compared to today’s punters. His career average of 42.4 yards per kick ranks 61st all-time and his net average of 32.2 yards (except for his first three seasons when the statistic was not maintained by the NFL) is not even in the Top 100.

Nevertheless, he is still considered by many to be the best to hold the position.

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