Don Maynard is shown at Kidd Field in January 1999.

Don Maynard

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Hall of Fame WR Don Maynard dies at 86

Hall of Famer Don Maynard, the New York Jets’ all-time time leading receiver, died Monday at age 86.

Pro Football Hall of Fame president Jim Porter confirmed the passing, calling Maynard “a resilient man on and off the field, and someone that his teammates could always count on.”

Maynard was born in Crosbyton, Texas, and starred at UTEP before being drafted in the ninth round by the New York Giants in 1957.

He caught five passes for 84 yards in 12 games with the Giants in 1958, then played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League in 1959 before returning to the Big Apple.

Maynard joined the New York Titans for the inaugural season of the American Football League in 1960. The team changed its name to the Jets in 1963 and ultimately merged with the NFL in 1970.

Maynard caught 627 passes for 11,732 yards and 88 touchdowns — all franchise records — in 172 games with the Titans/Jets from 1960-72, earning four Pro Bowl selections and posting five 1,000-yard seasons. He led the AFL with 1,434 receiving yards in 1967.

Maynard played in two games for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973 and caught one pass for 18 yards.

He retired as pro football’s all-time leading receiver with 11,834 yards until Charlie Joiner passed him in 1986.

Maynard was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987. The Jets retired his No. 13 and made him a charter member of their Ring of Honor in 2010.

“Don was a great player. He made many of his teammates better football players,” quarterback Joe Namath said, per the Hall of Fame. “Don worked with 25 different quarterbacks throughout his career, and he made most of us better football players.

“He was the man our opponents worried about, the knockout punch. Lightening in a bottle. Nitro just waiting to explode. I mean he could fly. But with the grace of a great thoroughbred. The man could flat play. He galloped through the best of the very best football players of the world.”

Maynard played in some of the most celebrated games in football history.

With the Giants, he appeared in the 1958 NFL Championship Game, a 23-17 loss to the Baltimore Colts known as “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” With the Jets, he participated in the Super Bowl III upset against Baltimore on Jan. 12, 1969. Maynard also competed in the debut of “Monday Night Football” on Sept. 21, 1970.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
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