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Don Maynard, Hall 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 Super Bowl, died on Monday at an assisted residing facility in Ruidoso, N.M. He was 86.

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

Maynard arrived within the N.F.L. with the 1958 Giants as a bit identified halfback and security out of Texas Western College, exhibiting 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 in the long run zone) within the thrilling 1958 N.F.L. championship sport by which the Giants had been overwhelmed by the Baltimore Colts in sudden-death extra time, however he didn’t carry the ball or catch a go that afternoon. The Giants minimize him the next summer season.

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

“Maynard is one of those lean and hungry Texans who can run forever,” Jets Coach Weeb Ewbank as soon as advised Sports Illustrated.

Ewbank had beforehand coached the Colts’ future Hall of Fame receiver Raymond Berry, who ran good go routes to make up for simply common velocity. “Raymond was usually tackled the instant 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 had been professional soccer data. He caught 88 landing passes, averaging 18.7 yards per catch, and performed in 4 Pro 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 long run 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 University of Alabama to a nationwide championship, Maynard lastly had a quarterback who may constantly 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 Super Bowl berth, Maynard performed what he thought to be his best sport.

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 go from Namath on the sport’s decisive drive.

“When Namath threw that ball late in the game, it came to me at about 10 o’clock,” Maynard advised Pro Football Digest. “But the wind caught it, and my head was up, looking at the sky, and I turned my whole body around to follow it. The ball went from 10 to 12 o’clock to 2 o’clock, and I kept turning and hung onto it, and I went out of bounds at the 6-yard line.”

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

“Don told me that he might be able to get by Atkinson deep,” Namath mentioned after the sport. He did simply that by about one step, then caught a rollout go from Namath for the game-winning landing.

The Jets used Maynard, nonetheless not absolutely recovered from his hamstring downside, as a decoy within the Super Bowl. Namath threw solely three passes to him, all incomplete. But the Colts’ secondary focused on Maynard, permitting receiver George Sauer Jr. to get open for eight catches masking 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 observe and area, by which he focused on the sprints and hurdles.

Maynard performed for 3 seasons at Texas Western (now the University 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 12 months with them, he performed one season for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League, then joined the Titans, coached by Sammy Baugh, the long run Hall of Fame quarterback, who had been Maynard’s coach within the Blue-Gray faculty all-star sport.

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 Football League earlier than retiring.

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

In addition to 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 type he had as a Giants rookie.

“Don was the first guy I saw,” linebacker Larry Grantham, one other of the unique Titans, advised Sports Illustrated. “He had those long sideburns, and he was sitting on one of those old New England stone walls wearing cowboy boots, Levi’s, a big Western hat and a belt with a huge brass buckle. The whole thing was unreal. I mean, where was the rodeo?”

Alex Traub contributed reporting.

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