This past weekend, the NFL announced the seven players who will be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer. There were some former players expected to be called, and there were some who raised an eyebrow or two. Then there were some whose call to the hall was long overdue, and one of those individuals was Ray Guy.
Ever since the Pro Football Hall of Fame came into existence in 1963 there has never been a punter enshrined. Guy will be the first punter ever to receive this honor and will be the second full-time special teams player inducted. The first one was kicker Jan Stenerud. Including Guy and Stenerud, there are now four players who are in the HOF who played special teams with the other two players being George Blanda and Lou Groza, who also played quarterback and offensive tackle respectively.
Guy, who finally got enough votes after eight attempts, was, and still is, considered the best to ever play at his position. In fact, Guy was so good that the annual award given to the best collegiate punter in the nation is named after him.
Now that the football world has finally given Guy his just due, there seems to be a much better chance for Chicago Bears return specialist Devin Hester to make it to Canton, OH once he decides to hang up his cleats.
Hester has been dubbed by many as the greatest return man of all time. During his eight years in the NFL, Hester owns the record for punt returns for touchdowns in a single season (4) and has the most punt returns for touchdowns in a career (13). In addition, Hester shares the record for most total returns for touchdowns in a career (19) with Hall of Famer Deion Sanders.
Although his skills in the return game might have diminished over the years, Hester is still considered one of the best and most dangerous returners in the league. The fact that Hester has accomplished what so many couldn’t even do in an entire football career should be reason enough for an invitation to the be among the best of the best.
The small number of special teams players in the HOF shows that this phase of the game is being terribly overlooked. Hopefully, the enshrinement of Guy will open the floodgates for more special teams specialist for the HOF such as Brian Mitchell and Steve Tasker.
Just like Guy, Hester is the very best to do it at his position. Regardless of whether more special teams players are selected to go into the HOF, Hester definitely should be the next Chicago Bear to have a bronze bust in Canton.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller.