Indianapolis Colts: 15 greatest receivers in franchise history

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Raymond Berry, Baltimore Colts
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player. 46. . SE. (1955-67). Raymond Berry. 3

  • Pro Football Hall of Fame (Class of 1973)
  • 2x NFL Champion (1958-59)
  • NFL 75th Anniversary Team
  • NFL 1950s All-Decade Team
  • Indianapolis Colts No. 82 jersey retired

Raymond Berry kicks off the holy triumvirate of Colts’ all-time receivers. All three men have either been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, or will be once they are eligible to be inducted. Berry is famously the gifted split end that caught all those passes from Johnny Unitas for years in Baltimore.

Stunningly, Berry was selected by the Colts in the 20th round in the 1954 NFL Draft out of SMU. After barely playing as a rookie in 1955, Berry came alive as a receiving talent in year two in 1956. He had 37 catches for 601 yards and two touchdowns that campaign.

Then in 1957, Berry would enter his prime, one that would last with the Colts for 10 seasons. He led the NFL in receiving with 800 yards. That would be the first of three times Berry led the NFL in that department.

In 1958, Berry made his first of six career trips to the Pro Bowl, earning his first of three straight First-Team All-Pro honors. He led the league with 56 receptions and nine touchdowns, to go along with 794 yards receiving. That would be the first of three straight seasons Berry led the league in receptions and the first of two straight where he led the league in touchdowns.

Let’s not forget what happened in 1958 for the Colts as a team. Baltimore won the NFL Championship over the New York Giants, 23-17. The Colts repeated as NFL champs in 1959, as Baltimore defeated New York again, this time by the margin of 31-16.

1959 would also be one of Berry’s best seasons as a professional. He led the NFL in all major receiving categories with 66 catches for 959 yards and 14 touchdowns. In 1960, Berry made his third First-Team All-Pro squad with league bests in catches (74) and receiving yardage (1,298), to go along with 10 touchdowns.

Berry spent his entire playing career with the Colts, retiring after the 1967 NFL season at age 34. He finished with 631 catches for 9,275 yards and 68 touchdowns in his Pro Football Hall of Fame career. Berry earned Canton enshrinement in 1973 in his first year of eligibility. He made the NFL 75th Anniversary Team, the NFL 1950s All-Decade Team and has his No. 82 jersey retired by the Colts organization.

While Berry’s football life was outstanding as a player, he was able to have a successful football career as coach. After working as a wide receivers coach throughout the late 1960s and 1970s, Berry was named the head coach of the New England Patriots in 1984. His 1985 team made it to the Super Bowl before falling to Mike Ditka’s Chicago Bears. Berry coached with the Patriots through 1989, briefly spending time as the Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos’ quarterbacks coach in the early 1990s.