Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Giants and Jets wide receiver Don Maynard died on Monday at the age of 86, his family told the Hall of Fame.
Maynard played 15 seasons in the NFL, 13 of them coming with the New York Jets where he developed into one of the greatest players in franchise history.
Over 172 games with the franchise from its inception in 1960 as the New York Titans to 1972, Maynard still ranks first with 627 receptions for 11,732 yards, and 88 receiving touchdowns.
The first man ever to eclipse the 10,000-yard receiving mark, Maynard eclipsed the 1,000-yard in five of his professional seasons, including a league-best 1,434 yards in 1967 and 1,297 yards in 1968 when the Jets ultimately became iconic Super Bowl champions.
Maynard’s biggest contribution to that championship run came in the AFL title game against the Oakland Raiders when he hauled in six catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
“Our Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Don Maynard. He was a resilient man on and off the field – and someone that his teammates could always count on,” Hall of Fame president Jim Porter said. “He was humble, and perhaps the best way to remember Don is through his own words – from his Enshrinement speech:
“‘I came to play, and I came to stay. Football was a game; Country Don was my name. I made a mark, and I became a star, with a lot of help from near and far. There are good ones and great ones, I played with and against. Thank you, good Lord, for that wonderful chance. As I played my part many times even late after dark, I don’t have to look back as I played it with my heart. The direction from where I came, resulted in a whole lot of fame. I played the best and I believe I passed the test. I am glad this is over; I need some rest.’”
A Crosbyton, TX native, Maynard was selected by the Giants in the ninth round of the 1957 NFL Draft. He played one season for the team, catching five passes for 84 yards in 12 games from Hall-of-Fame quarterback Charlie Conerly in 1958. The Giants released him in 1959 and after playing one season with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League, he signed on with the upstart New York Titans, soon to be the Jets, of the American Football League.