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Don Maynard, a member of the NFL Hall of Fame and winner of Super Bowl III with the New York Jets, died on Monday at the age of 86 of causes that are still unknown.
“Our Professional Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Don Maynard. A tough man on and off the field, whom his teammates could always count on, ”announced Jim Porter, president of the Canton, Ohio-based entity.
Maynard, the first receiver in the league to accumulate 10,000 passing yards, was born on January 25, 1935 in Crosbyton, Texas.
He was selected by the New York Giants in the ninth round of the Draft of the old National Football League in 1957. In 1959 he played a season in American football in Canada with Hamilton.
He returned to the United States to sign with the New York Titans in 1960, one of the founding franchises of the American League, and in his first season he had 72 receptions for 1,265 yards, which left him second-best in the league.
In 1963 the Titans became Jets, a team with which Maynard received his first Pro Bowl nomination in 1965.
In 1967 his partnership with passer Joe Namath was famous for receiving 71 passes for 1,434 yards. A year later, he averaged 22.8 yards per reception, the highest in the league, in a season that capped off Super Bowl III against the Baltimore Colts.
He ended his career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973. In total he had 633 receptions and 11,834 passing yards, two records up to that point.
In announcing Maynard’s passing, Jim Porter recalled his pride in being proclaimed the first receiver to reach 10,000 yards and shared part of the legendary bearer of the number 13’s speech on his induction into the Hall of Fame in 1987.
“After playing for a while, anyone can break records, and the one I’m most proud of is being the first to hit 10,000 receiving yards. Others can do it, but I was the first, and only one man can be the first, ”Maynard said in 1987.
Don Maynard was one of five players whose distinctive number was withdrawn from circulation by the New York Jets as a tribute to their accomplishments.
The other four are Joe Namath’s 12, Curtis Martin’s 28, Joe Klecko’s 73, and Dennis Byrd’s 90. EFE
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