During the 1960 NFL season, Raymond Berry fully committed his life to Christ and soon thereafter made sports ministry a top priority. As a player, he organized pre-game chapels with teammate Don Shinnick and served as a committee member for Baltimore’s Young Life chapter. Throughout his coaching career, Berry was actively involved at FCA clinics and camps, and was a member of the FCA National Advisory Council.
After a three-year career at Southern Methodist University, Berry was selected in the 20th round of the 1954 NFL Draft. In an era dominated by the running game, he became one of the league’s first prolific wide receivers. Known for his precise routes and sure hands, Berry spent his entire 13-year career with the Baltimore Colts where he had just two dropped passes and one fumble in 633 reception attempts. He was a six-time Pro Bowl selection, three-time AP First-Team All-Pro selection, and two-time AP Second-Team All-Pro selection. Berry starred on two NFL Championship teams (1958 and 1959) and ended his career with 9,275 yards and 68 touchdowns. The Colts have since retired his jersey (82).
In 1968, Berry entered the coaching ranks as an assistant for Tom Landry with the Dallas Cowboys. He also spent time coaching wide receivers at the University of Arkansas before returning to the NFL where he coached in Detroit, Cleveland, and New England. After a brief time away from football, Berry was hired in the middle of the 1984 season to take over as the Patriots’ head coach. In 1985, he led the team to its first AFC title and an appearance in Super Bowl XX.
In 1973, Berry was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He has been named to the NFL’s 50th and 75th Anniversary All-Time Teams. In addition to his athletic and ministry efforts, Berry had an exemplary military career with the Army National Guard from 1957 to 1963.