Died – Demise – Obituary
Raiders Corridor of Fame punter Ray Man dies at age 72
Raiders proprietor Al Davis stunned the soccer world in 1973 when he made punter Ray Man the twenty third decide within the first spherical of the NFL Draft.
Man, who died Thursday at age 72 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, after a prolonged sickness, rewarded Davis’ religion by turning into a beloved Raiders legend and the primary and solely punter to be named to the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame. He received three Tremendous Bowls with the Raiders.
It was Man who popularized “grasp time” with hovering punts that will attain eye degree of followers within the outer reaches of a stadium, enabling protection groups to make tackles and swing subject place the best way of the Raiders.
In an interview with this information group in 2014, Man mentioned he’d by no means heard the phrases “grasp time” till coach John Madden used them to explain his kicks.
In 1977, Houston coach Bum Phillips accused Man of utilizing footballs inflated with helium as a result of he’d by no means seen punts so excessive. The Oilers despatched footballs to Rice College for testing. No helium was discovered.
“The Raiders Household is mourning the passing of Ray Man, a legendary punter who revolutionized particular groups throughout his 14 seasons with the Silver and Black,” the Raiders mentioned in an announcement Thursday. “The prayers of all the Raider Nation are with the Man household presently.”
The Georgia native was an incredible all-around athlete, and it was that athletic prowess that enabled him to change into a peer to Raiders teammates relatively than be thought-about a specialist. Man was a standout multi-sport athlete in highschool and at Southern Miss and performed each security and quarterback along with punting.
Man was chosen 4 totally different occasions as a pitcher within the Main League Baseball draft and intercepted eight passes as a senior at Southern Miss.
“I by no means actually had a instructor, a coach or a particular camp to take care of study the artwork of punting,” Man mentioned in his 2014 Corridor of Fame induction speech. “My highschool coach confirmed me two issues about foot alignment and ball placement, and that was just about it.
“I used to be a very good athlete and will have been a serious league pitcher or an NBA basketball participant, however I knew God had one thing particular for me and ultimately one sport would stand out past the remainder. Enjoying within the NFL for the Raiders was my future, and I by no means seemed again or questioned my determination.”
In a separate 2014 interview, Man recalled the response of his new teammates after being a first-round draft decide. He received them over along with his athletic ability as he was the Raiders’ emergency quarterback and a prepared and aggressive tackler on kickoff returns.
“I do know a number of the veterans had been considering, ‘What’s Al doing?” Man mentioned. “He’s drafting a punter along with his No. 1 draft alternative? How is that going to assist?’ However after the primary day of observe, it was apparent I used to be greater than only a punter.”
Man’s profession common of 42.4 yards per punt is pedestrian by at this time’s requirements, however he was enjoying for a robust crew that usually had good subject place. His job was to get most altitude on kicks and ideally preserve opponents contained in the 20-yard line. From 1976-86, he put 210 punts contained in the 20-yard line — greater than twice the variety of another punter.
The athletic capacity of Man was on full show when the Raiders beat Washington 38-9 in Tremendous Bowl XVIII in Tampa Bay. Misplaced amid the highlights together with Marcus Allen’s 74-yard landing run and Jack Squirek’s pick-six earlier than halftime was an early punt from Man along with his again to the tip zone.
“The ball was snapped 10 ft excessive, Ray someway goes up and will get it and will get off a 42-yard punt,” former Raiders coach Tom Flores mentioned in 2014. “It might have modified all the recreation. No person even talked about it.”
Present Raiders punter A.J. Cole, an All-Professional punter final season and Professional Bowl participant, is conscious of what Man did to revolutionize the place.
“The Raiders have the best historical past of the punter place of any franchise, and that began with Ray Man,” Cole advised reporters Thursday at observe in Sarasota, Florida. “The extent that he obtained to the place his title is just about synonymous with NFL punting, that’s not one thing you see lots. It’s positively a tragic day. It’s unhappy to lose a legend like that.”
In 2000, Davis once more bucked conference within the NFL Draft by utilizing two draft picks on kickers — place kicker Sebastian Janikowski within the first spherical and punter Shane Lechler within the sixth.
Lechler performed for the Raiders from 2000 by 2012 and was named All-Professional six occasions with seven Professional Bowl appearances.
Named to the NFL’s All-Professional crew six occasions, Man made seven Professional Bowls and was named the punter on the NFL’s Nineteen Seventies All-Decade crew in addition to the punter on the league’s seventy fifth and one centesimal anniversary groups.
Man can be a member of the Mississippi and Georgia sports activities Corridor of Fames in addition to the Faculty Soccer Corridor of Fame and the Bay Space Sports activities Corridor of Fame, the latter coming in 2008.
The No. 44 is retired in Man’s honor at Southern Miss, and the Ray Man Award is given yearly to the highest punter in school soccer.
Raiders Corridor of Fame punter Ray Man dies at age 72