Don Maynard: New York Jets Legends, Part I

Rob CCorrespondent INovember 3, 2008

In the first of hopefully many blogs about past New York Jets, I'm proud to start off with Don Maynard, the Jets' first legend.

Born in Crosbyton, TX, Maynard played his college ball at Texas Western College where he was a two-time all-conference running back and track star. He was drafted by the New York Giants in 1957 and was converted to wide receiver, but after one year he was released, having only five catches for 84 yards.

The Giants thought he was nothing more than an average player (of which they had enough) so the move made perfect sense considering the Giants had just won the Championship and didn't need Maynard anymore.

Maynard then played a year in the Canadian Football League, but when the newly formed New York Titans offered him a contract, he accepted and became the first ever New York Titan, and his life would never be the same.

In his first year as a Titan, he had 72 catches for 1,265 yards, which was truly amazing for a guy whose team went 7-7 and, like today, their QB situation wasn't good.

For years to come, Maynard was a great wide receiver with good numbers on a bad team—until 1968. As you all know, that was the year the Jets won their only Super Bowl. Even though he only had 57 catches, he still had over 1,200 yards receiving, which, even today, is just unbelievable.

Maynard was always Joe's favorite target because he was big, worked hard, and was fast. Don's last three years were a bit of a wash however, considering he was injured for some of that time.

The Jets found other younger guys to take his place while they became a run-oriented team.  But even when he wasn't getting the ball, he still averaged over 16 yards a catch every year, which will never be matched.

Then in 1972 he moved on to St. Louis, and a year later Don decided to retire. Amazingly, Maynard never led the AFL in receiving yards or catches, but he still ended his career with 633 catches for 11,834 yards and 88 touchdowns with a career average of 18.7 yards per catch.

In the end, Don Maynard was the first ever Jets legend. Let's all take a few seconds to thank the Giants for releasing him and letting us get one of the best wide receivers of all time.