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HATTIESBURG, Miss. – Ray Guy, a Hall of Fame punter with the Raiders in Oakland and Los Angeles who played in three Super Bowls, died Thursday. He was 72.

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Guy, who starred at Thomson High School in Georgia, died after a long illness, former Thomson High defensive coordinator and “Ghosts of the Brickyard” co-author John Barnett told The Augusta Chronicle. He had been receiving care in a Hattiesburg-area hospice, according to The Associated Press.

Guy was the first punter selected in the first round of the NFL draft when he was selected 23rd overall by Oakland out of Southern Mississippi in 1973, and became the first full-time punter to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014, reported.

Guy was a three-time first-team All-Pro selection and played in seven Pro Bowls during his 14-year career with the Raiders, appearing in 207 games, according to He averaged 44.9 yards per kick and once boomed a 77-yard punt. He also placed 210 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, reported. That does not include his first three seasons in the pros because the NFL did not begin tracking the statistic until 1976, reported.

“The first time I laid eyes on him is when we first brought him to practice. And he started to punt, and he punted the longest, highest footballs that I had ever seen,” Guy’s coach with the Raiders, John Madden, said during his presentation of Guy for enshrinement into the Hall of Fame. “And I said, ‘OK, that’s enough.’ You know, I didn’t want to tire his leg out or have him get injured. And he said ‘Coach, I’m just warming up.’ And I thought ‘Holy moly, just warming up?’ And I knew right then, at that moment, that he was going to be special.”

Guy was selected to the NFL’s 75th-anniversary team and the 1970s all-decade team, according to the AP. He played in Super Bowls XI, XV and XVIII, all won by the Raiders.

He only had three punts blocked in the regular season during his career. Ironically, the first time one of his kicks was blocked came in Super Bowl XI in January 1977. Minnesota Vikings linebacker Fred McNeill broke through the line to block the kick and recovered the ball at the Raiders 3-yard line. However, the Raiders recovered a fumble two plays later and never looked back en route to a 32-14 victory.

Jeff Bower, Guy’s teammate at Southern Miss, called Guy an all-around athlete who excelled in all sports.

“You could play him in ping pong, bowling, you name it,” Bower told the Hattiesburg American in a 2014 interview. “Just a natural. He’s the best athlete I’ve ever been around.”

Guy lettered in football, basketball and baseball during his high school career before graduating in 1969, the Chronicle reported. Drafted three times by MLB organizations before choosing football as his main sport, Guy threw a no-hitter against William Carey University in 1972, the American reported.

Guy averaged 44.7 yards, the fifth best in NCAA history, while playing for Southern Miss. He also set what was then an NCAA record with a 61-yard field goal against Utah State, reported.

He also played safety and set a school record with eight interceptions. His 18 career interceptions are second on Southern Miss’ all-time list.

Guy returned to work for Southern Miss before the 2010 season to help the university prepare for its centennial celebration, the American reported.

“He was one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met,” Jerry DeFatta, who worked closely with Guy as the executive director of the university’s alumni association, told the newspaper. “He was just one of those people who always had the ability to see the best in the situation or give you advice that really made things a little clearer for you.”

“Ray was a warm, humble Southern gentleman who represented the game, the Raiders organization and the Hall of Fame with dignity and class at all times,” Pro Football Hall of Fame president Jim Porter said in a statement. “A truly gifted athlete, he could have been a star in Major League Baseball or pro basketball. Fans of the NFL thank Ray for choosing to focus on football.”