NEW YORK – It seemed at times that Ray Guy's shot at getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame had passed. And if he couldn't break through that wall and become the first full-time punter into the Hall, who would?
But Guy kept the faith. Even if he wasn't the first full-time punter to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, he believed someone would make it. But it would have been a crime if the first punter voted in wasn't Guy, considered the greatest at his position of all time.
And finally, after so many years of waiting, the former Raiders punter was voted in. He'll forever be the first full-time punter in Canton.
"Good things are worth waiting for and I knew it would come," Guy, who retired in 1986 and was a seven-time Hall-of-Fame finalist, said of the wait. "I knew it would happen sooner or later. It had to. Whether it was me or someone else. But sooner or later it had to happen because (punting) is a part of a football game."
Guy was a senior committee nominee this year. He had some support for years to get into the Hall of Fame but never enough to get voted in. His first time as a finalist was 1992.
He said if there was any frustration over not getting in, he was frustrated on behalf of the younger generation of punters and kickers he works with at his camps. Punters are often chided for not being football players, mostly because they don't tackle much. But they can be game changers and Guy, a first-round pick, was a pioneer of sorts. Now he has paved the way for punters in the Hall of Fame.
"That's part of history," fellow 2014 Hall of Fame inductee Derrick Brooks said, referring to Guy.
Guy was one of the first punters to become known for the hang time of his kicks, and his high punts that allowed his teammates to cover downfield became the standard. His brilliance at the position helped the Raiders win the field-position battle in many games. Guy helped the Raiders win three Super Bowls in his 14-year career.
Guy said often on Saturday that he was a football player, not just a punter. Now that he has gotten the ultimate recognition for the punter position, he thinks the other young specialists he works can set their dreams high, knowing anything can be accomplished.
"It has given them hope," Guy said. "Now there is a place for us. It's recognized. It's an important position."
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