Don Maynard, a Hall of Fame receiver who was the first player to gain 10,000 receiving yards, has died. He was 86. The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Maynard’s passing on Monday.
Maynard, a ninth-round pick of the Giants in 1958. He was cut in 1959 because then-offensive coordinator Allie Sherman thought Maynard’s strides were too long.
“I cover more ground in one stride than anybody else here does in three,” Maynard replied.
He spent 1959 in the CFL before becoming a member of the New York Titans (later Jets) of the AFL.
Maynard played for New York for the entire duration of the AFL’s existence, winning a Super Bowl with the Jets in early 1969. (He had no catches in the 16-7 win over the Colts, due to a hamstring injury.)
As shown in the attached picture, Maynard did not wear a chin strap. He used extra ear padding to keep his helmet on his head.
Maynard retired with 633 catches for 11,834 yards. Both were career records at the time. Even with the explosion of offense in the past 50 years, Maynard remains No. 31 on the all-time yardage list.
We extend our condolences to Maynard’s family, friends, teammates, and colleagues.