Aaron Maybin entered the NFL with great fanfare as the 11th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft. He was a major disappointment in Buffalo, played only slightly better in a stint with the Jets, and was released this week by the Bengals in what may turn out to be his last chance to make it as a professional football player.
Maybin was one of the major characters in this week’s Hard Knocks, and for those who didn’t realize he had already been cut, the episode at first suggested that he had some hope of making it with the Bengals.
“I was 20 when I came in the league. I was young. Young as s–t,” Maybin said early in the episode. “It being my fifth year, I understand a lot more now.”
One thing Maybin may never have fully understood is just how hard a player — even a player with Maybin’s natural talent — needs to work if he wants to last in the league. Hard Knocks treated us to the site of veteran linebacker James Harrison, one of those players who has lasted in the league in large part because of hard work, arriving in the weight room at 6:15 a.m. to get extra work done before practice. In a meeting, Bengals linebackers coach Paul Guenther used Harrison as an example to the undrafted rookies in the room, saying they should conduct themselves like Harrison if they want to make the team.
Maybin doesn’t seem to have that singular focus on football. As it so often does, this episode of Hard Knocks took us inside the off-field life of the player it was profiling, demonstrating that Maybin has artistic talent and is an avid painter. Maybin came across like a smart, interesting man. Just not as much of a football player. After a disappointing performance in last week’s preseason game, Maybin was told to bring his iPad with the playbook on it and visit coach Marvin Lewis.
“I understand. I’ve been in the game long enough to know how it goes,” Maybin told Lewis as Lewis told him he was cut.
Perhaps a career in art is in his future. He doesn’t seem to have much of a future in the NFL.