Ray Guy Oakland Raiders
"Working together and learning the responsibility of not only you with your inner self and your job and your responsibilities, but working with other people next to you.”
Ray Guy became the first punter ever selected in the first round of a National Football League draft when the Oakland Raiders tapped him as the 23rd player chosen in 1973. The 6-3, 195-pounder from Southern Mississippi spent his entire 14-season, 207-game career with the Raiders. His career punting average was an excellent 42.4 yards and he averaged more than 40 yards 13 of his 14 seasons. The only time he fell below the 40-yard average mark came during the strike shortened (9 games) 1982 season, when he averaged 39.1 yards. Only three of his 1,049 punts were blocked and he ranked second all-time at the time of his retirement by punting 619 straight times without a block in a period from the 1979 season until the end of his career in 1986.
Guy led the NFL in punting in 1974, 1975, and 1977 and finished second three times and third once. A veteran of 22 post-season games, he added 111 punts for a 42.4 average to his career totals. He played in seven Pro Bowls and was named All-Pro six times and All-AFC seven times. His top seasonal average – 45.3 yards on 69 punts – was recorded in his rookie season. His longest punt in the NFL was a 74-yarder against Denver in 1977. In the 1980 AFC Championship Game, he boomed a 71-yarder against San Diego. Besides being a long-distance punter, Guy specialized in putting opponents in poor field position with his pinpoint punts. In the 11 seasons after such records were kept, he was credited with 209 “inside the 20” punts. More than a third of them – 77 – came in his final three seasons.
Guy, who was born December 22, 1949, in Swainsboro, Georgia, was a collegiate All-America who averaged 44.7 yards on 200 punts. He doubled as a field goal kicker and once had a 61-yard field goal against Utah State. Guy also played safety and had 18 interceptions in three years. An outstanding baseball pitcher, he was drafted by major league baseball while in high school. His athletic versatility served the Raiders well. Guy not only handled the kickoff duties but served as the Raiders’ emergency quarterback as well.