Andy Lee salutes Guy's HOF election

The celebration of Ray Guy's election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday extended beyond Guy and the Oakland Raiders.

It’s a victory for all punters.

“It was a proud day to be a punter,” said San Francisco 49ers punter Andy Lee on Tuesday. “If it gives us an inch more of respect, it’s a great thing. It’s a great thing for our position.”

Guy, who punted for the Raiders from 1973-86, is the first player who primarily was a punter to gain election into the Hall of Fame. For Lee, who has been a star punter for the 49ers for the past 10 seasons, it’s important to see a punter get this type of recognition.

“I know some people don’t consider us football players, and I understand their points, but I think we are an important part of the game,” Lee said. “This kind of puts punters on the map.”

Guy’s election is also special for Lee because they have known each other for several years. They first met when Lee was a college freshman at Pittsburgh when he attended Guy’s punting camp. Lee later worked at the camp. He sent Guy a text to express his congratulations as soon as he heard the news Saturday.

Lee said he never talked to guy about his candidacy, but said the lack of punters in the Hall of Fame was often a topic among the specialists on the 49ers.

“He is a mentor and a friend,” Lee said. “It’s great to see him break this barrier.”