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Don Maynard, Corridor of Fame Receiver for Champion Jets, Dies at 86

Don Maynard, the Hall of Fame vast receiver who teamed with Joe Namath within the passing assault that propelled the Jets to their storied 1969 upset victory within the Tremendous Bowl, died on Monday at an assisted residing facility in Ruidoso, N.M. He was 86.

The trigger was a mix of well being issues, together with dementia, his son, Scot, mentioned.

Maynard arrived within the N.F.L. with the 1958 Giants as just a little recognized halfback and security out of Texas Western Faculty, displaying up at coaching camp with a cowboy hat, matching Western apparel, cowboy boots and lengthy sideburns. The Giants already had Frank Gifford, Kyle Rote and Alex Webster of their backfield, so Maynard noticed restricted motion that season.

He obtained the opening kickoff (touching the ball down ultimately zone) within the thrilling 1958 N.F.L. championship recreation through which the Giants have been crushed by the Baltimore Colts in sudden-death additional time, however he didn’t carry the ball or catch a move that afternoon. The Giants reduce him the next summer season.

By the point Maynard performed in one other storied championship recreation, the Jets’ 16-7 win over the N.F.L.’s closely favored Colts in Tremendous Bowl III on Jan. 12, 1969 — an unforgettable victory that introduced their American Soccer League long-sought credibility — he had grow to be one in all professional soccer’s most dynamic receivers.

“Maynard is a type of lean and hungry Texans who can run ceaselessly,” Jets Coach Weeb Ewbank as soon as informed Sports activities Illustrated.

Ewbank had beforehand coached the Colts’ future Corridor of Fame receiver Raymond Berry, who ran good move routes to make up for simply common velocity. “Raymond was often tackled the moment he caught the ball,” Ewbank mentioned. “Give Don a step and he’s gone.”

When Maynard retired, having performed 13 of his 15 seasons for the Jets, his 633 receptions for 11,834 yards have been professional soccer data. He caught 88 landing passes, averaging 18.7 yards per catch, and performed in 4 Professional Bowls. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, in 1987, the second participant, after Namath, to go in as a Jet.

Maynard, 6 toes and 180 kilos, was the primary participant to signal with the longer term Jets franchise when it entered the fledgling A.F.L. because the Titans in 1960, and he rapidly turned one of many league’s main receivers, working with quarterbacks who got here and went. When Namath was signed by the Jets in 1965 after main the College of Alabama to a nationwide championship, Maynard lastly had a quarterback who might persistently unleash passes to meet up with his downfield sprints.

When the Jets performed the Oakland Raiders at Shea Stadium in December 1968 for the A.F.L. championship and a Tremendous Bowl berth, Maynard performed what he considered his biggest recreation.

Hampered by a sore hamstring, he caught 6 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns within the Jets’ 27-23 victory. He had a 14-yard landing reception within the first interval, and his 6-yard scoring catch within the fourth quarter offered the margin of victory.

His most spectacular play got here when he beat the Raiders’ defensive again George Atkinson on a 52-yard move from Namath on the sport’s decisive drive.

“When Namath threw that ball late within the recreation, it got here to me at about 10 o’clock,” Maynard informed Professional Soccer Digest. “However the wind caught it, and my head was up, wanting on the sky, and I turned my complete physique round to observe it. The ball went from 10 to 12 o’clock to 2 o’clock, and I saved turning and hung onto it, and I went out of bounds on the 6-yard line.”

He referred to as that reception “the best catch I ever made.”

“Don informed me that he may be capable of get by Atkinson deep,” Namath mentioned after the sport. He did simply that by about one step, then caught a rollout move from Namath for the game-winning landing.

The Jets used Maynard, nonetheless not absolutely recovered from his hamstring downside, as a decoy within the Tremendous Bowl. Namath threw solely three passes to him, all incomplete. However the Colts’ secondary targeting Maynard, permitting receiver George Sauer Jr. to get open for eight catches overlaying 133 yards.

Donald Rogers Maynard was born on Jan. 25, 1935, in Crosbyton, Texas, a small city about 40 miles east of Lubbock. He performed soccer in highschool, however his No. 1 sport was monitor and discipline, through which he targeting the sprints and hurdles.

Maynard performed for 3 seasons at Texas Western (now the College of Texas at El Paso), then was chosen by the Giants within the 1957 N.F.L. draft as a ninth-round future choose. After one yr with them, he performed one season for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Soccer League, then joined the Titans, coached by Sammy Baugh, the longer term Corridor of Fame quarterback, who had been Maynard’s coach within the Blue-Grey school all-star recreation.

After 13 seasons as a Jet, Maynard was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. He performed one season for them and one other within the World Soccer League earlier than retiring.

He was a monetary planning guide after his taking part in days.

Along with his son, Maynard is survived by his spouse, Anna Maynard; a daughter, Terry Perrin; and 5 grandchildren.

When Maynard joined the Titans, he adopted the identical model he had as a Giants rookie.

“Don was the primary man I noticed,” linebacker Larry Grantham, one other of the unique Titans, informed Sports activities Illustrated. “He had these lengthy sideburns, and he was sitting on a type of previous New England stone partitions carrying cowboy boots, Levi’s, an enormous Western hat and a belt with an enormous brass buckle. The entire thing was unreal. I imply, the place was the rodeo?”

Alex Traub contributed reporting.

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