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Guy in running for Hall of Fame spot

Ray Guy is adding to his resume these days.

The former star punter with the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders is co-author of Football Kicking and Punting . The book, which can be purchased at area book stores, was co-written by Rick Sang, director of the Ray Guy Kicking Academy.

The foreword to the new book is written by Guy's longtime coach with the Raiders, John Madden, now retired as a television color commentator on football.

"Ray Guy is something very special as a person and was something very special as a football player," Madden said in an interview with Sang for the book. "I remember when we drafted him with the Oakland Raiders and took him number one. Everyone wondered how we could draft a punter number one. Our response was that we drafted him number one because he was not only the best punter in the draft; he was the best punter who ever punted a football. He could do everything. Not only was he a punter, he was a great athlete. He could kick off, he could catch the ball, he could throw; he could do all those things that the great ones had to do."

Madden went on to say that Guy's accomplishments are the inspiration for the book.

"It's a little different being called an author," laughed Guy, who put on a two-day kicking camp at the football practice field at Thomson High School Dec. 30-31.

Sang said it took about a year and a half to write the book.

"It's doing real well on the market right now and (we're) very pleased," Sang said.

A total of 42 teenagers from across the Southeast traveled to Thomson to learn from Guy, considered by millions to have been the greatest punter to have ever played in the National Football League.

"We focus on instruction at these camps," Sang said.

Guy, who celebrated his 60th birthday a few days ago replied, "We just want to add to their talent by offering them fundamentals and techniques. We want them to learn to be their own coach."

Today, there are 474 active college players who have gone through the Ray Guy Kicking Academy.

It's been a big year for Guy. He has raised an undisclosed amount of money for the upcoming 100- year anniversary of Southern Mississippi University, where he played football and baseball for four years.

The legendary punter also is hopeful of adding another accomplishment to his résumé soon. He's hoping the honor of being named to the NFL's Hall of Fame will finally come his way in 2010.

"It's amazing that in the 90 years of the NFL Hall of Fame, a punter has never been inducted," Sang said.

Guy agrees.

And so do thousands of his fans, who have been taking out time to vote for him on The Official Van Heusen Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan's Choice. For the past several weeks, Guy's name has headed the list of the favorites.

As of Wednesday night, Guy led all nominees with more than 49,000 votes.

The other six leading former NFL players behind him include Tim Brown, Jerry Rice, Jim Plunkett, Lester Hayes, Emmitt Smith and Cliff Branch. Both Plunkett and Branch played with Guy on the Raiders' team.

"I've always known that the fans are behind me and that's always meant a lot to me," Guy said. "The fans make you. I sincerely appreciate the fans supporting me and fighting for a position that should have already been in the NFL Hall of Fame."

Guy said he tries not to think about whether he'll ever be honored in such a way, "because I've been there so many times -- a couple of times real close. Whether I do or not, the satisfaction for me comes from knowing that the fans know what kind of player I was and that's good enough for me."

Web posted on Thursday, January 07, 2010

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