Ray Guy, who punted for the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders for 14 seasons in the 1970s and 1980s, emerged from a nine-hour meeting of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Board of Selectors as the first true punter picked to enter the NFL’s ultimate shrine.
Guy was one of seven former players elected on Saturday. The class of 2014 will be inducted in August.
Guy was a three-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowler who led the NFL in gross punting average three times and was a member of all three Raiders Super Bowl championship teams.
He was nominated by the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee and was elected on his eighth time as a Hall finalist. He had previously made it to the final ballot in 1992, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2007-08.
Guy joins Jan Stenerud as the only kicking specialists to be enshrined.
It was a disappointing day, however, for former Raider receiver Tim Brown and former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo, who failed to make the cut from 15 modern-era finalists down to 10 on Saturday, per ESPN.com.
Charles Haley, who won five Super Bowls as a member of the 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, was one of the 10 modern-era finalists but did not survive the cut to the final five who were subject to a yes or no vote of the Board of Selectors.
A full class of seven was selected. Joining Guy in the class of 2014 will be former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks, former Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Claude Humphrey, former Seattle Seahawks tackle Walter Jones, former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Andre Reed, former New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan and former Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams cornerback Aeneas Williams.
Humphrey was also a Seniors Committee finalist.
For Brown, it was the fifth straight year he was a finalist and the election the last two years of receivers Cris Carter and now Reed should reduce some of the backlog at the position that has occurred on the ballot in recent years.
Guy earned the distinction of being the first punter ever drafted in the first round when the Oakland Raiders took him with the 23rd overall selection out of Southern Miss in 1973. Russell Erxleben in 1979 is the only other punter ever taken in the first round.
Guy averaged 42.4 yards per punt over his 14-year career but became renowned for both the hang time of his punts, which made them much more difficult to return, as well as his ability to deaden the ball inside the 10-yard line or angle punts out of bounds deep in opposing territory. He was something of a pioneer in an aspect of special teams play that is considered routine in today’s NFL.