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Learning from a Legend: Ray Guy takes kicking show in the road to Evans Knights

EVANS, Ga. - Ray Guy was six years old when he embarked on a punting career.Every day after school he would practice punting a little black football over power lines outside his Swainsboro home.

From those humble beginnings, Guy parlayed his childhood obsession into three Super Bowl rings.

His life is now dedicated to teaching boys kicking techniques without having to resort to trial and error like he had to.

"You guys have a lot more opportunity to learn the proper way to punt and place kick than I ever did," Guy said to more than 40 teens attending a free kicking clinic he hosted at Evans High School last Wednesday afternoon. "We're going to spend some time today showing you proper techniques to make you a better kicker."

Guy was in Augusta last week to present the annual Ray Guy Award, a trophy given to the best collegiate punter in the nation and sponsored by the Greater Augusta Sports Council. The clinic is Guy's favorite event associated with the award presentation.

"Punting has obviously been very good to me, and I've always felt like I should give something back to the sport," he said.

Guy owns the Ray Guy Kicking and Punting Academy, which traveled to more than 30 cities across the country last year to develop young talent. He and his instructors, which included this year's Ray Guy award winner B.J. Sander of Ohio State University and 2001 winner Travis Dorsch of Perdue, put their pupils through drills, demonstrated proper technique and offered encouragement.нн "A lot of times place kickers and punters are sort of dismissed, like they're not as important as other players," Guy said to the boys. "Puntersand place kickers are as important a player as anyone on the field. I've played a lot of positions on both sides of the ball, and I know how important a kicker is to a team."

A former Thomson High School Bulldog and one-time Southern Mississippi University All-American, Guy was a starting free safety in college and a backup quarterback with the Oakland/L.A. Raiders.

But punting was his most exceptional talent with hang times that regularly surpassed six seconds.Guy was the first pure punter to ever be taken in the first round of the NFL draft.

The Raiders picked him as the 23rd overall pick, and in his 14-year career with the organization he punted 1,049 times for 44,541 yards. Only three of his punts were ever blocked and only once did an opposing team manage to return a punt for a touchdown against him.During one of seven Pro Bowl appearances, Guy punted the ball so high he hit the electronic scoreboard hanging from the top of the Louisiana Superdome.

Although he is a member of the NFL's 75th Anniversary All Time Team and the Super Bowl Dream Team, induction into the football Hall of Fame still eludes him. Despite having been nominated five times, he still has not been

Web posted on Thursday, February 12, 2004

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