Ray Guy dead at 72: Raiders legend, first player inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame, dies

Ray Guy dead at 72: Raiders legend, first player inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame, dies

Ray Guy, considered the greatest player in NFL history, died Thursday morning after a long illness, his alma mater, Southern Miss, announced. He was 72 years old.

A member of both the College of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Guy became the first player to be inducted in Canton, Ohio when he was inducted in 2014.

“Appropriately, much was written when Ray Guy was inducted in Canton about how his selection as a true first baseman created a ‘full slate’ of players in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. However, too often overlooked is the man behind his powerful right foot.” , Hall of Fame President Jim Porter said in a statement. “Ray was a warm, humble Southern gentleman who represented the game, the Raiders organization and the Hall of Fame with dignity and class at all times.

“A truly gifted athlete, he could have been a star in Major League Baseball or professional basketball. NFL thanks to Ray for choosing to focus on football.”

Guy was the 23rd overall pick in 1973 NFL draft. An immediate star, Guy was named to his first of six consecutive Pro Bowls during his rookie season. He was an All-Pro every season from 1976 to 1978 before earning his seventh Pro Bowl nod in 1980.

Component three Super Bowl championship teams, Guy had 111 punts in the postseason, including a 71-yarder during the 1980 postseason. Guy’s best game in the NFL may have come in Super Bowl XVIII, when he managed to knock down a high punt with one hand before returning a 40-plus yard punt to save a potential Washington touchdown. The Raiders ended up winning the game 38-9 while pulling off one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history.

Guy spent his entire 14-year career with the Raiders, retiring after the 1986 season. After a 22-year wait, he joined many of his former teammates in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Prior to joining the Raiders, Guy enjoyed a standout career at Southern Mississippi, where he was a punter, punter and safety for the Golden Eagles from 1970-72. His accolades include a 93-yard punt against Ole Miss and a 61-yard field goal in a snowstorm against Utah — an NCAA record at the time. He finished his college career with the school record in career punting average at 44.7 yards per punt.

In addition to his success as a kicker, Guy was the starting safety for the Golden Eagles. He intercepted eight passes in 1972, which is still tied for the single-season school record. He was a unanimous All-American after his senior season.

The Ray Guy Award was established in 2000 to honor college football’s most outstanding player.

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