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Guy shares tips on punting with youngsters

One of Thomson's most famous people returned home last week to spend Christmas holidays with his family.

Ray Guy, believed by millions to have been the greatest punter to have played in the National Football League, didn't just hang around his home off Wrightsboro Road, though. Instead, he worked to show others the art of punting, kicking and booting field goals and extra points.

It began Wednesday morning at the football practice field at Thomson High School -- Guy's alma mater. Dozens of youngsters from across the Southeast journeyed there -- many with their parents -- to participate in the Ray Guy Kicking Camp, which concludes today.

For the past several years, Guy, who played for the Oakland and Los Angles Raiders for a combined 14 years, has put on the kicking camp to encourage and help youngsters and teens interested in all aspects of the kicking game.

"It helps teach these kids all kinds of things, especially what they are doing wrong," Guy said during an interview at last year's camp. "It's very important that kids don't form bad habits in their kicking game. If they do, it's hard for many of them to break those habits. This camp teaches the correct way to do a lot of things when it comes to the kicking game."

Guy and his staff of experts, including his son, Ryan, a physical education teacher at Harlem Middle School and former Thomson High School football head coach Paul Leroy, make sure participants get the most out of the camp.

"We want them to take away from this camp useful knowledge to make them better kickers," said Leroy. "That's what this camp is all about. I think kids get a tremendous respect about just how important the kicking game is when they attend one of the Ray Guy camps."

Aside from teaching youngsters a variety of skills about the kicking game, Guy also mixes and mingles with parents, coaches and participants.

"I love putting on this camp, because it gives me a chance to come back home and give back," Guy said. "It also gives me a chance to do what I think I do best and that's to run my mouth."

Guy also takes time out to sign autographs for those seeking what they hope will someday be more of a personal treasure to them than it is today. Again, this year, Guy is one of several former NFL greats nominated for the NFL Hall of Fame -- an honor that has eluded Guy for several years.

During the past several months, Guy has been busy raising money for Southern Mississippi University -- where he played college football. The money being raised will go toward helping the university celebrate its centennial celebration in 2010.

"It's been a lot of hard work, but it's paid big dividends," Guy said.

Web posted on Thursday, December 31, 2009

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