I'm loving Wayne's respect for Berry

December, 11, 2009
12/11/09
2:21
PM ET
Reggie Wayne already ranks ahead of Raymond Berry in receptions, 659 to 631 and 100-yard games, 30 to 23.

In the not so distant future he’ll pass the Hall of Famer in yards (his 9,164 is 111 short of Berry) and touchdowns (his 62 are six behind Berry).

Raymond Berry
Photo by Vernon Biever/NFL/Getty ImagesRaymond Berry played for the Baltimore Colts from 1955 to 1967.
I’m not a huge NFL historian and am young enough that I knew Berry more as a so-so coach of the Patriots, not as a Hall of Fame receiver for Baltimore in the 50s and 60s.

In April 2008, years removed from playing or coaching, I developed a great deal of respect after I found this excerpt from Mark Bowden’s book, “The Best Game Ever” in Sports Illustrated.

I think it should be mandatory reading for all incoming NFL players for the lessons it teaches about the intricacies of being prepared for everything and anything. Just the section on his cleat selection for the 1958 title game at Yankee Stadium, made me a giant Berry fan.

Wayne has an appreciation for Berry, and it’s another reason to appreciate Wayne, who plays in an era when so many guys are not concerned with NFL history or their predecessors.

Here’s what Wayne told Indy reporters this week when asked about Berry:

“I believe that he’s helped paved the way. He’s one of those guys that did it and did it the right way, and gave us young bucks the opportunity to go in and try to hunt him down a little bit. He’s a great person. I’ve met him a few times. Whenever my name is mentioned in the same category with him, it is always an honor.”

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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