Ray Guy, Hall of Fame punter with Raiders, dies at 72

HATTSBURG, Miss. – Ray Guy, a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Raiders and the first punter to make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, died Thursday. He was 72.

Southern Mississippi, where Guy starred before becoming the first punter ever picked in the first round of the NFL draft, said he died after a long illness. He was being cared for in a hospice in the Hattiesburg area.

Drafted 23rd overall by Al Davis’ Raiders in 1973, Guy played his entire 14-year career with the team in Oakland and Los Angeles. He was a three-time All-Pro selection.

In 2014, Guy became the first player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame exclusively for his punting. The seven-time Pro Bowl selection was selected to the NFL’s 100th Anniversary Team and 1970s All-Decade Team.

“Ray Guy was a football player who punts,” the late John Madden said in 2014 before inducting Guy into the Hall of Fame.

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

Guy also played defensive back in Southern Mississippi. He still shares the school record for most interceptions in a season with eight in 1972, and his 61-yard field goal at Utah State set an NCAA record at the time.

In 2015, Southern Miss renamed the street in front of Duff Athletic Center on her campus “Ray Guy Way”.

Guy finished his NFL career in 1986 with a streak of 619 punts without a block. But it was nearly three decades before he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Beginning in 1992, he was a seven-time finalist for induction without being selected, failing even to make it that far on other occasions.

“That kind of bothered me because they said, that’s not a position, it doesn’t take an athlete to do that, it doesn’t matter,” Guy said before his induction into the Hall of Fame in 2014. “It is , which really got under my skin. It wasn’t so much whether I did it or not. I wish someone would have done it. It was just knowing they didn’t care. That chilled me a bit.”

Guy revolutionized the position in many ways.

His kicks were so high that one to hit the Superdome scoreboard 90 yards above the field in a Pro Bowl helped put “hang time” in football lingo. His ability to pin opponents low with either high kicks or well-placed kicks was a key factor in the success of the great Raiders teams of the 1970s and 80s.

“It was something I was given. I don’t know how,” he said. “I’m really blessed in this category. I really appreciate that and have developed it further and turned it into something great.”

Guy’s stats look a little boring compared to today’s players. His career average of 42.4 yards per kick ranks 61st all-time, and his net average of 32.2 yards (excluding his first three seasons, when the stat wasn’t kept by the NFL) isn’t even in the top 100.

However, he is still considered by many to be the best ever to play at the position.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34939624/ray-guy-hall-fame-punter-raiders-dies-72 Ray Guy, Hall of Fame punter with Raiders, dies at 72

Emma Bowman

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