February 5, 2007
He is widely regarded as the greatest punter in NFL history, yet Thomson's Ray Guy remains on the outside looking in when it comes to the Hall of Fame.
Since Guy first became eligible for the Hall in 1992, the former pro bowler and Super Bowl champion has been a finalist six times. And six times, he has been passed over, including this past Saturday, when the latest class was announced for induction.
Understandably, Ray Guy is a little frustrated.
The Greater Augusta Sports Council annual awards gala is coming up tomorrow night, and Guy, along with some of the high school punters who will be honored, took time today to talk to us and explain his craft a little bit.
What he really wants people to understand is that he's not so much disappointed that he's not in the Hall of Fame as he is that no punter has made it.
If Ray Guy is the greatest punter of all time and he's not in the Hall, then that amounts to a lack of respect for the entire position.
"The only time they basically recognize (punters) is when they mess up, so I think it's time," Guy said. "Now I'm going to dedicate myself more to make the awareness more. That's one reason we started seven years ago the Ray Guy Award. It's to give the college punters a recognition, to give them a purpose."
Today was not all about the Hall of Fame.
Members of the military were given a chance to get autographs from Guy, and the former pro-bowler spent the afternoon with local high school punters nominated as the best in the area.
He showed them some of the finer points of the position that helped make him a pro bowler.
For teenagers playing a position that is often overlooked, having a legend offer you lessons lends credibility to their efforts to become great kickers.
"I think it'd be nice to finally talk to somebody that's been in NFL games, and has some experience, that's been to some Super Bowls, that's had some pressure put on him when he makes a nice kick," said Josh Whitaker.
Here's the real news for young kickers.
Ray Guy will be hosting a free clinic tomorrow afternoon at Richmond Academy for any middle school or high school-age punter.
Walk-up registration begins at 3:30.
You can just show up and learn from the best. All you have to bring is a football.