New York Jets fans collectively mourned after finding out the news on Monday, January 10 that NFL legend Don Maynard passed away at the age of 86.
The news was first shared by Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
After the news was sent out on social media, Pro Football Hall of Fame President Jim Porter shared a few words calling him a “resilient man” and someone that could always be counted on both on and off the field.
The Hall of Fame main website shared a piece of Maynard’s Hall of Fame enshrinement speech that seemed to encapsulate him as a player and as a man:
“I came to play, and I came to stay. Football was a game; Country Don was my name. I made a mark, and I became a star, with a lot of help from near and far. There are good ones and great ones, I played with and against. Thank you, good Lord, for that wonderful chance. As I played my part many times even late after dark, I don’t have to look back as I played it with my heart. The direction from where I came, resulted in a whole lot of fame. I played the best and I believe I passed the test. I am glad this is over; I need some rest.”
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Remembering One of the Best to Ever Do It
An outpouring from former players, teammates, coaches, and fans has taken over Twitter with heartwarming stories. Here are some of the top reactions:
Long-time former Dallas Cowboys wideout Drew Pearson said “no one played the WR position better” and said he grew up a Jets fan watching him make big plays.
The Jets don’t win the Super Bowl without Maynard’s services, plain and simple. Jets fans still cling to this moment as the pinnacle of the franchise’s history and for good reason.
Really cool insider story from Rich Cimini of ESPN who recalled a Super Bowl III column where he asked Don where he kept his championship ring? Maynard said in his refrigerator at home in Texas, “if the house caught on fire or something, ain’t nothing in the fridge getting burned.” An absolute classic.
Sticking on the Jets beat, Waz shares some of his accolades including but not limited to: jersey retirement (No. 13 is hanging in the rafters), a member of the Ring of Honor, and quite frankly one of the best players in team history.
A History Lesson for Our Younger Audience
For our younger viewers and listeners, you likely missed Maynard’s playing career and impact on the franchise. It is time for a quick history lesson and now is a better time than any.
Maynard played 15 years in the pros from 1958 through 1973 and suited up for three teams: New York Giants, New York Titans/Jets, and his final season with the St. Louis Cardinals.
During that span, he caught 633 passes for 11,834 receiving yards and 88 touchdowns.
He was a former track star and played both sides of the ball in college for Texas Western with 10 interceptions and nine touchdowns on offense.
After a surprising release from the Giants after his first year in the league, he jumped over to the Canadian Football League for a year as he pondered his future. Ultimately the Jets took a chance on him and Maynard a chance on them being a new league and all (AFL). The rest as they say is history.
At the time of his retirement, he was the all-time leader in receptions, yards, and was second in league history in touchdowns.
He was the first 10,000-yard receiver in league history and still holds numerous records with the Jets half a century later.
Maynard left this world too soon and his legacy will live on forever.