Ray Guy was an outstanding punter at the University of Southern Mississippi. A great athlete, Guy was also the placekicker and starting safety. He kicked a 61 yard field goal and also had a punt for 91 yards.
He became the first pure punter ever selected in the first round of the NFL draft, when the Oakland Raiders took him 23rd overall in 1973. Guy went on to play 13 seasons with the Raiders. Early in his career, he kicked off a bit and was also the emergency quarterback.
Guy was known for perfect form, including a high leg follow-through, which resulted in great height and hang times for his punts. He was a difference-maker, a rarity for a punter.
Watching him, you knew he was bound for the Hall of Fame. In 2014, he was finally elected to the HOF, becoming the first pure punter inducted. It was fitting that the honor went to Guy, but it was disappointing it took so long. On the other hand, it does speak volumes about Guy's success that despite a bias against punters, he was simply too good to not be inducted.
When I was granted press credentials for the National Sports Collectors Convention 2019, Guy was one of my main targets. He amazed me as a kid. I never saw any punter like him and to this day, I still haven't. There have been many great ones, buy Guy was a cut above all. This was one of my first football card favorites come to life.
He was extremely nice and we briefly chatted.
A Steelers fan was next to meet him and he asked Guy to "choke" him (because of the Steelers-Raiders rivalry). Guy had a good chuckle, but politely declined. He did allow the fan to reverse it and "choke" him.
Ray Guy and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2019.
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