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Ray Guy has never had a better shot at Hall

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Filed for print to run Saturday . . .

The chances of Ray Guy becoming the first punter to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame have never looked better.

“You want to get excited, but you don’t want to show it outside,’’ the former Raiders punter said this week from his office at Hattiesburg, Miss. “I’ve been through it before, but it doesn’t get any easier until you know for sure on Saturday.’’

Guy has been a finalist seven times, but this year was nominated by the nine-member seniors committee, a designation for players who haven’t played for 25 seasons.

Already a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, as well as those at his college in Southern Mississippi and the state sports Hall of Fames in Mississippi and Georgia, Guy would be the first pure punter elected.

He will still need 80 percent of the 46-member electorate (37 votes), but as a senior nominee, Guy and fellow senior candidate Claude Humphrey will be voted upon on a yes or no basis.

In previous years, Guy was considered along with other candidates with voters deciding which four or five to include. It put him in competition with fulltime players and left him short of the necessary 80 percent.

Coaches such as John Madden, Hank Stram and George Allen were all senior inductees, unable to get 80 percent of the vote when matched against players.

Seven of the last eight senior candidates have been enshrined, and 38 of 51 overall since the senior designation was added in 1972. According to Rick Gosselin, a columinist for the Dallas Morning News and a member of the senior committee, it increases Guy’s odds of getting good news.

“I like his chances because he’s a senior, thus he’s a stand-alone candidate not in competition with five modern-era candidates,’’ Gosselin said in an e-mail. “It’s either yea or nay. He’s worthy or else we wouldn’t have brought him out of the senior committee. We vet these guys pretty good.’’

Said Jim Trotter, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated and one of the 46 voters: “I feel this is the year Ray finally gets in. In the past he’s fought the bias that some voters have against specialists, but as a senior his chances increase significantly because he would not take an available spot from a position player.’’

Guy’s legend is superior to his statistics, which by modern standards are ordinary for a punter.

The Raiders made Guy the first punter to be selected in the first round of the draft in 1972. Guy said he never heard the term “hang time’’ until Madden used it to describe his booming kicks, which occasionally took more than five seconds to return to earth.

Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips once swiped a game ball after facing the Raiders and sent it to Rice University to have it tested for helium.

A gifted athlete, Guy’s 18 interceptions as a safety is ranks second in Southern Miss history and he was drafted three times as a pitching prospect by the Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves and Cincinnati Reds. He is still on campus as the school’s director of community relations for the Southern Miss alumni association.

However, Guy’s career average for gross punting is 42.4 yards per kick, tied for 89th all-time. His season best of 45.3 yards in 1973 is tied for 168th.

Former Raiders punter Shane Lechler, by contrast, is has the highest average in NFL history (47.6) and a single-season best of 51.1 in 2009.

Mitigating circumstances in Guy’s case include playing for a strong Raiders team where he wasn’t called on as often to punt from deep in his own territory, instead angling for the sideline to get better field position.

From the years 1976-86, Guy had 210 punts inside the 20-yard line _ more than twice the amount of any other punter.

At his Hall induction in 2009, Madden said in his acceptance speech he believed the busts for each player talked to each other at night. If that’s the case, Guy’s presence would give Jan Stenerud some company.

Stenerud, elected to the Hall in 1991, is the only pure kicker in the Hall of Fame. His career field goal percentage of 67.8 is low by today’s standards, but he was one of the first dominant soccer-style kickers and helped change the way teams looked at scouting place kickers.

While admittedly partial to former teammate Jerrel Wilson, the Chiefs punter and contemporary of Guy, Stenerud said, “I expect Ray to get in. I think punting is important. In terms of field position he was tremendous and no punter was as universally known as Ray.’’

CBS analyst Steve Tasker, a 13-year veteran who was so good at kick coverage and blocking kicks Buffalo teammates such as Jim Kelly and Bruce Smith lobbied for his inclusion of Hall of Fame, said Guy’s name recognition counts for something.

“He’s the guy that set the bar,’’ Tasker said. “You talk to most people who watch the NFL, the only punter they can name, other than their own punter, is Ray. There’s something to be said for that.’’

Former Rams, Eagles and Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil, hired as the NFL’s first special teams coach in 1969 by George Allen, is perplexed that there is no punter in the Hall.

“In think the general fan underestimates the value of field position,’’ Vermeil said. “Why would you exclude a punter if he was the best in his position in the history of the NFL?’’

Former Raiders coach Tom Flores considers Guy as worthy as any of the position players that helped him win two Super Bowls. Lost amid Marcus Allen’s 74-yard touchdown run and Jack Squirek’s interception for a touchdown in a 38-9 win over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII was a game-altering play by Guy with his back to the end zone.

“The ball was snapped 10 feet high, Ray somehow goes up and gets it, and gets off a 42-yard punt,’’ Flores said. “It could have changed the entire game. Nobody even talked about it.’’

Guy isn’t hoping to be a pioneer as much as he’s looking to give the Hall of Fame something it lacks.

“I’d love to be the first, but whether I am or I’m not it’s time to fill every position on a football team,’’ Guy said. “I’ve yet to see the great team that didn’t have a great punter.’’

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • FourMoreYears

    Which is kind of weird because he could easily say Hue took a guy off the couch and won his first 3 starts.

  • JB

    We may have a shot at Clowney in the draft and that would be our rushing DE.

  • 0ak R8rs

    No. But I only care how he would look on the Raiders. A lot of QBs would do just fine in Seattle w that defense.

  • Dakota

    Maybe he is including preseason wins? lmao

  • FourMoreYears

    He was voted in, he hasn’t been inducted yet.

    If there’s no post then, then feel free to scream away.

  • 1960AutumnWind

    Would not. Bennett led team in Sacks and Avril was really good at containing Kap.

  • SnBG

    PFF had Wiz rated just a couple of spots below Mack so I can see it. I do like the idea of moving him over if we get mack. If not I can see Reg going for a G in the top of the second round.

  • 1960AutumnWind

    We need more than a shot at someone. That was the stone cold weakness of the defense and just killed us last year.

  • SnBG

    True, not to dissimilar from what Reg may wind up doing. They took a CB in the 2010 draft and also took 2 CBs in the 2011 draft and Browner,CB, in free agency. They took a T and 2 LBs also.To me Hayden’s pick isn’t so bad if he can step up and play next year.

  • the swanky socialite dr robert

    U mist literally have nothing else to do with ur life. I mean we can skip these things but why would someone waste time actually writing these fantasies?

  • SnBG

    Big Ton the hand with a SB ring sounds good to me also JB. Now Cable can go out and smack a few folks around with that big fat ring.

  • 1960AutumnWind
  • disqus_yeZNegncsV

    In case you haven’t heard, O-linemen make holes for runners to run through.

  • Guest123

    Maybe we’ll get an update tommorow on whether or not Ray Guy made the Hall of Fame. The suspense is killing me.

  • disqus_yeZNegncsV

    Does it have something to do with the color of coaches?

  • DKnight007

    Seattle had a lot of undrafted players on roster and one of the youngest teams in the league. The Raiders have a crap load of undrafted or low round picks and one of the youngest teams in the league. It’s not about when you pick a player but WHO you pick. Carroll knows how to evaluate talent AND more importantly knows how to bring his team together in all facets and knows how to coach. Is Allen anaywhere near Carroll?

  • disqus_yeZNegncsV

    Flynn? Flynn? I know only one Flynn “supporter” on this whole blog.
    You’re crazy.

  • SnBG

    Almost every QB we’ve had since Gannon and even Before him have stunk and I didn’t like any of them. JR was the guy I disliked the most though. One of my favorite HCs was Shell. He got a raw deal from Al. No way to treat a HOFer and former Coach of the year.

  • IAmAlwaysWrong

    per my sources, his chances are good.. take that FWIW

  • Twinkle

    He’s there I believe because we have no true C on the roster and because he wants to play C.Enter Mr Mack and I’m sure he’d be happy to move back to G.Mack has been my dream FA pickup this off season but I’m not sure everyone is aware that he’s not the best blocker at the position but he is far and above the best C because of his signal calling.He’d be invaluable to McGloin because he would already have the possible audibles called before MM got under C.He’s not a grader but hes far more valuable than any other FA out there imo

  • Blackholepriest

    Hues team had as many if not more injuries. Bottom line his record is 8-8 in his rookie year. It took DA two years to win as many. Don’t come to me with the excuses everyone has them………period

  • 1960AutumnWind

    The 2006 Oakland Raiders were unwatchable on offense. Could of easily gone 0-16.

  • FourMoreYears

    Al admitted that he regretted what happened with Shell and gave him another chance.

    Oh how I wish he hadn’t. My eyes still hurt from watching that.

  • Blackholepriest

    Yeah sure! Only one will admit it NOW after he crapped the bed.

  • DKnight007

    Exactly. Sign Mack and move Wiz to LG to play next to Veldeer again. The unit was strong when Wiz was at LG under Cable and Hue. Than sign a vet QB like McCown or Vick and sign two fast and physical pass rushers and another OLB who can cover for depth purposes. Sign another CB and resign Jenkins or Porter.

  • Twinkle

    Because we have $1.98 and we don’t want it turned into $0.21 maybe.

  • 1960AutumnWind

    Pssst he was voted in…

  • SnBG

    Carroll seemed to like Flynn. He’s made mistakes as well as anyone in the league. Not every Seahawks pick has been golden. In 2011, they tried to rebuild the offensive line with James Carpenter (first round) and John Moffit (third round). Those picks haven’t panned out, and the Seahawks have yet to get much production from the 2013 draft class. He is a great coach but he isn’t perfect.

  • 0ak R8rs

    Faster, stronger and bigger ALL the time. Nfl has 32 teams w 53 man rosters, 45 active. College has like 120 division one teams w like 75 person active rosters. Do the math. Talent, size and speed severely diluted in college vs pros. That’s why 50% of first rounders bust out after 4 years. And that’s just first rounders.

  • Blackholepriest

    Listen man I read all your pits when he was playing so say whatever you want now. But doesn’t change the truth…….period

    Most all of you wanted Grads……..period

  • Twinkle

    2014 looks to be tougher than that even

  • 1960AutumnWind

    The problem is he took a white guy off the couch.

  • 0ak R8rs

    By frail I mean frail looking. And barely 200 LBs. Even JFB, who’s a huge Manziel proponent will tell you a QB needs to be at least 210. Preferably 220. Manziel is maybe a gum wrapper above 200. Maybe.

  • SnBG

    I believe you’re blaming Shell for that and really should put the blame where it belongs. With Als personal moves.

  • Twinkle

    With than in mind I hope to hell we don’t get a Chinese QB then lol
    ( and no I have nothing against Asian people and I am not racist before any one tees off lol)

  • AutumnThunderstorm

    Woods great hire, Minnesota DB coach for over a decade. Another well respected coach joining our staff.

  • David Henderson

    Jury is out on Allen, time will tell.

  • Papertiger

    Good point. The Dallas Cowboys picked a safety seven spots ahead of Kam Chancellor, and took a cornerback 12 spots ahead of Richard Sherman. Neither player is still in the league.

  • 0ak R8rs

    And I didn’t say BIG trouble. But I think he is trouble. And Idc what his teammates say. You could probably find guys that think Slolando McClown is a great guy.

  • SnBG

    Please,,,,tell me again what the Hawks paid Flynn and what we paid him?

  • 1960AutumnWind

    You really don’t get it. We can change our minds over time based on performance. When RM dumped Palmer I was angry. I was leery about Flynn but then I thought he is our QB and I support him. Then one day while he was getting clobbered by WASH I saw that stupid grin he gets. After that I said this guy is a loser. He just doesn’t care and probably just wants off the team. Since then not a big Flynn fan.

    I even did that with JR. Before the draft I opposed the pick. For a time after the pick i hoped he would be a franchise QB but it was hard. Same with Pryor and so on. This does not make me a hypocrite it means I have an open mind and I can change it and I am not going to become so enamored/angered by a player or coach that I can’t let him go or conversely give him a chance. The Raiders are bigger than any one player or coach or even owner I might add.

  • EDWARD TEACH

    You sound like you haven’t been out of the house since 1963. You really shouldn’t be afraid to; things have changed quite a bit.

  • The Beeeeech Dawg

    Nobster, news flash – movies aren’t real. They are all made up stories by major talents like the Dawg.

    How long have you believed there were actually Predators running around the jungle?

  • Papertiger

    From PFT:

    “The biggest numbers on Sunday night came not from Seattle nor from Denver but from Kansas City, which produced a schadenfreude-aided 58.1 number.”

    Ha! Gotta love those bitter Chiefs fans.

  • DKnight007

    He is not perfect…but he is a super bowl champion now and knows how evaluate talent better than most. That is the goal isn’t it?

  • IAmAlwaysWrong

    Joe Woods & Marcus Robertson replacing Lynn & Lopez as DB Coaches, eh? they have coached some AWFUL secondaries with the Vikings & Lions. in both cases, I guess Allen & Tarver assume those guys coaching was not the problem ?? #notalentlendstopoorresults

  • Twinkle

    Then you are a racist that hates everybody ? idk

  • TrevJo

    If you subtract $9.7M for Rice, $11M for Miller, $2M for Carpenter, and $2M for Irvin that’s still a $100M roster. Compare that to our roster which got paid $52.M if you don’t count McFadden and Branch.

  • DKnight007

    He doesn’t have long. He needs to show improvment next year in the wins and losses category or our next head coach should be be Seahawks OC Darrell Bevell in 2015

  • 1960AutumnWind

    You don’t get it. Hawks are genius and Flynn a smart move because they just won the superbowl. However Raiders and Flynn are a dumb move because well they are the Raiders.