NFL legend Ray Guy died Thursday morning after a long illness. He was 72.
He was the first and remains the only punter to have ever made it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Guy’s death was announced by his alma mater, the University of Southern Mississippi, on Thursday.
𝗙𝗼𝗿𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗹𝗲𝗴𝗲𝗻𝗱 🖤💛 pic.twitter.com/C6k1hN4LCH
— Southern Miss Football (@SouthernMissFB) November 3, 2022
Guy spent his entire 14-year NFL career with the Raiders in Oakland and Los Angeles and was named first-team All-Pro six times.
In a statement Thursday, the team, now in Las Vegas, called him “a legendary punter who revolutionized special teams.”
“Guy’s high, booming punts often pinned opponents deep within their own territory, helping introduce the term ‘hang time’ into football lexicon,” the Raiders said.
The Raiders Family is mourning the passing of Ray Guy, a legendary punter who revolutionized special teams during his 14 seasons with the Silver and Black.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) November 3, 2022
Born Dec. 22, 1949, in Swainsboro, Georgia, Guy was an All-America at Southern Miss, according to his Pro Football Hall of Fame bio.
In addition to punting, he kicked 25 field goals for the Golden Eagles, including a then-NCAA record 61-yarder, according to the school.
Guy began a string of football “firsts” after college when he became the first punter ever selected in the first round of the NFL draft, going 23rd overall to Oakland.
He went on to win three Super Bowl championships during his long career with the Raiders: in 1977, 1981 and 1984.
Only three of 1,049 punts in his pro career were blocked, and when his career ended in 1986, he was on a streak of 619 punts without a block — the second-longest ever at the time.
In 2014, Guy became the first punter inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) November 3, 2022
In 2000, the award given annually to the best collegiate punter was named after him. The organization behind the Ray Guy Award issued a statement about his death Thursday evening.
“The Augusta Sports Council Board of Directors are saddened to announce the passing of legendary punter and friend, Ray Guy,” it said. “Guy passed earlier today surrounded by family in Hattiesburg, Mississippi where he resides.”
“Ray Guy did more than pave a career, he pioneered one,” the organization said. “Guy’s impact on the game of football, specifically on the importance of the punter, is incredible and will continue to influence the generations of players to come.”
— Ray Guy Award (@RayGuyAward) November 3, 2022
In addition to his football prowess, Guy was a dominant pitcher, throwing a no-hitter for Southern Miss and getting drafted multiple times by MLB teams. But he elected to pursue a football career.
While known for his football prowess, Ray Guy threw a no hitter for the Golden Eagles against William Carey on April 6, 1972. It is one of eight thrown in the school’s history.#RIPRay | #EverythingMatters | #SMTTT pic.twitter.com/XZpmQafjwf
— Southern Miss Baseball (@SouthernMissBSB) November 3, 2022
Many mourned his death on Twitter.
“We are saddened to hear of the passing of Pro Football Hall of Fame punter Ray Guy. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones,” the NFL tweeted.
We are saddened to hear of the passing of Pro Football Hall of Fame punter Ray Guy.
Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones. pic.twitter.com/DPqnFKbyzj
— NFL (@NFL) November 3, 2022
A.J. Cole, the Raiders’ current punter, tweeted, “man… this hurts to hear. rest in peace to a LEGEND!! he changed the game and made punting for the @Raiders such a special job.”
— AJ Cole (@AJCole90) November 3, 2022
Others shared similar sentiments.
— Tim Brown (@81TimBrown) November 3, 2022
Super Sky Point to Ray Guy, the only punter in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the namesake of the yearly award for the best collegiate punter. You are now pinned inside your own 10-yard line just for reading this tweet. #RIP pic.twitter.com/fTCFYMaC4t
— Super 70s Sports (@Super70sSports) November 3, 2022
I basically grew up hearing how much of a legend Ray Guy was from someone who should know: My dad. During his rookie year, he was the kicker for the @Raiders while Guy was the punter. They even sat next to each other in the team photo! RIP to the legend. https://t.co/XgRRKti5IA pic.twitter.com/a0G365bvMD
— John Breech (@johnbreech) November 3, 2022
— Old Time Football 🏈 (@Ol_TimeFootball) November 3, 2022
RIP to a legend.. Thank you Ray Guy for paving the way for the rest of us! 🙏🏼
— Logan Cooke (@LoganCooke2) November 3, 2022
Many will remember Guy as a football pioneer, an NFL legend and the greatest punter of all time.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.