It took longer than the hang time one of his punts, but Ray Guy has figured out what he will say Saturday when he is inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Busy with invitations and arrangements and scheduled to leave Tuesday for the start of the festivities, Guy said in a conference call with local reporters he has finally had time to finish his speech and can begin to relax.
“It’s been kind of tough for me to compose it and put it exactly the way I want and describe how I got to this point, which is pretty much the last thing I’ll ever do as far as sports are concerned,” Guy said Monday morning. “It’s going to be very emotional but I’m pretty sure everybody goes through this. I’ll pretty much highlight the road that I took to the final destination, the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I think what you’ve got to do is wait to hear what I have to say.”
Guy selected former coach and Hall of Fame inductee John Madden to do his presentation for a simple reason.
“I wanted Al (Davis) to do it but of course he’s not going to be there _ he is there, but he won’t be introducing me verbally,” Guy said. “I wanted to keep it within the family, and when I talk about family I mean the Raiders. “I wanted to keep it through the chain of command.”
Selected by the seniors committee, Guy becomes the 22nd player to wear a Raiders uniform to be enshrined.
Although the first true punter selected to the Hall, Guy felt he was accepted because he never really saw himself that way.
“I know a lot of the veterans were thinking, `What’s Al doing? He’s drafting a punter with his No. 1 draft choice? How is that going to help?’,’ ” Guy said. “But after the first day of practice, it was obvious I was more than just a punter.”
Guy was a starting safety at Southern Mississippi, as well as a pitcher in baseball, and said adjusting to a specialty was the most difficult thing about his transformation into an NFL player. He aid he at times angered Madden and Davis with his penchant for racing downfield to make a tackle after punts and kickoffs. He was also an emergency quarterback with a powerful throwing arm.
“I think being able to do more things made me more acceptable to (my teammates) and it sure made my life a little easier because I began to relax a little more because I wanted to be a part of that team,” Guy said.