Raymond Berry Blossomed into One of the Best Receivers in Pro Football History
Unlike most future Pro Football Hall of Famers, few could have predicted Raymond Berry would have the celebrated NFL career that came his way during his high school and college days.
Berry didn't start until his senior year at Paris High School even though his father was the head coach. And when Berry played at SMU, he only registered 33 receptions before the Baltimore Colts selected him in the 20th round of the 1954 NFL draft.
But what Berry accomplished after school was legendary.
In 13 NFL seasons -- all with the Colts -- Berry led the league in receptions three times and made six Pro Bowl teams, most of his touchdown receptions coming from fellow legend Johnny Unitas.
Perhaps the defining moment of his career came in the 1958 NFL Championship Game, termed by football historians as "The Greatest Game Ever Played." Berry had 12 receptions for 178 yards and a touchdown that day, leading the Colts to 23-17 overtime defeat of the New York Giants.
Berry retired with an NFL-record 631 catches for 9,275 yards and 68 touchdowns. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1973.
He resurfaced in the 1980s as a coach in the NFL, first as an assistant with the New England Patriots. Then in 1984, he took over the Patriots during the middle of the season following the dismissal of Ron Meyer as head coach. The very next year, he led New England to an 11-5 regular-season record and an appearance in Super Bowl XX, which was dominated by the Chicago Bears.
Berry remained with the Patriots until 1989. He currently lives in Murfreesboro, Tenn.