Member: Pro Football Hall of Fame
Attended: Southern Methodist
Coached: New England Patriots
Johnny Unitas would not bave been "Johnny U" without the great hands of Raymond Berry. In 13 seasons with the Baltimore Colts, mostly with Unitas at quarterback, Berry was the permier wide receiver in the NFL.
Raymond Berry’s road to the NFL was rather improbable, considering that he had bad eyesight and he had to wear custom-made shoes because his legs were not the same length. Perhaps because of that, he was not a standout at SMU and got little attention from any pro team. He was drafted in the 20th round by the Baltimore Colts and the rest is history.
Berry was neither blessed with exceptional athleticism nor speed. What he brought to one of the most prolific pass receiving careers ever to be seen in the NFL was determination, an enhanced work ethic and creativity that consistently amazed coaches and teammates. His practice started early and ended late. Coach Weeb Ewbank once said that it all his 30 years as a coach, he never saw a more serious athlete. Raymond Berry studies film at the office and at home, he caught backyard passes from his wife and neighbors and invented sun goggles and wrist bands aimed at enhancing his play.
It was his attention to detail that gave Raymond Berry the edge. It showed in every move, every precise pass route. He often figured out ways to beat the best pass defender and then executed it. His big soft hands caught everything within reach and his outstanding leaping ability allowed him to make impossible catches seem routine.
At the time of his retirement in 1967, he held NFL records for pass receiving at 631 for 9.275 yards and 68 touchdowns, led the NFL in receptions three times and never caught fewer than 43 passes per season in his career. He helped the Colts win consecutive NFL championships in 1958 and 1959. The five-time Pro Bowler’s defining moment came in the classic 1958 title game against the New York Giants when he caught 12 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown----three receptions for 62 yards on the Colts’ dramatic game-tying drive in the final two minutes of regulation.
A member of the All Decade Team, 75th All Time Anniversary Team, named as one of the best 100 players to ever play the game and Pro Football Hall of Fame.