Football fans received some tragic news this week when one of their sport’s most celebrated figures died.
According to Fox News, acclaimed former New York Jets wide receiver, Don Maynard, passed away on Monday at the age of 86.
“A resilient man”
Jim Porter, the president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, issued a statement in which he lauded the late athlete.
“Our Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Don Maynard,” Porter said. “He was a resilient man on and off the field — and someone that his teammates could always count on.”
Fox News noted that Maynard’s achievements included partnering with fellow football great Joe Namath to help secure the New York Jets’ first and only Super Bowl victory in 1969 over the Baltimore Colts.
Namath spoke highly of Maynard as his former teammate was being inducted into the Hall of Fame over three decades ago.
“Don was a great player,” Fox News quoted Namath as saying at the ceremony in 1987. “He made many of his teammates better football players. Don worked with 25 different quarterbacks throughout his career and he made most of us better football players.”
The network also pointed out that Maynard was among a select group of only five New York Jets players to have their jersey numbers retired.
Maynard joined the team in 1960 when it was still called the New York Titans, and continued to play until he went to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1972.
“I don’t really look at it like I’m the greatest receiver,” Maynard once said according to his Pro-Football Hall of Fame biography.
“After you play awhile anybody can break certain records,” he acknowledged before adding, “Longevity is the key. The record I’m proudest of is being the first guy to get 10,000 yards in receptions. Others may do it but I’m the first and only one guy can be the first.”
ESPN stated that Maynard was predeceased by his wife and college sweetheart, Marilyn, with whom he fathered two children.