Don Maynard has authored more than a few Jets/Titans records and even some that still stand in the NFL’s Record & Fact Book. But now for the first time he’s a book author and he’s enjoying the “tour,” which includes signing copies of “You Can’t Catch Sunshine” on the sun-bathed plaza outside New Meadowlands Stadium before the start of today’s Jets-Patriots game.
“It’s an autobiography, kind of an unusual one,” Maynard told me before last month’s Ring of Honor ceremonies at NMS. “I went to 13 schools, five high schools in Texas. I even played six-man football at one time for two or three plays a game. It was a little bit like Forrest Gump’s situation. I kept moving around.”
That continued as he left North Texas State and turned pro, playing in the CFL, then for the Giants for a year, and finally becoming the first player signed by the upstart New York Titans of the fledgling American Football League.
“To play in the sudden death game [Giants-Colts “Greatest Game Ever Played” in 1958], then wind up years later in another big game, Super Bowl III, then the first Monday night game ever played, the Heidi Bowl, other bowls,” Maynard said, “it’s great to have been a part of it.’
The title comes from Don’s nickname since his Texas school days. Larry Grantham, his former Jets teammate and good friend to this day, remembers seeing Maynard get off the bus at the Titans’ first training camp in Durham, N.H., wearing boots, jeans and his trademark two-inch-wide belt with 13’s on the side and “Shine” on the buckle.
“I knew then he was something different,” said Grantham.
One of Maynard’s traits was what he called his thriftiness and Grantham called his “cheapness.” The All-AFL linebacker recalled when the team did some friendly wagering of whether Maynard would launch himself off a diving board into the pool at the Jets’ Oakland hotel one road trip.
“We made up a little pot for 78 dollars,” Grantham recalled. “Everybody dared him to go off the board in a Jets blazer. He dove off the board in the blazer. Later he said heck, it didn’t cost that much to get it cleaned. He made a profit.”
I don’t know if Maynard went into the diving board story but he hit a number of great stories from his time as one of the great wide receivers in the AFL and in pro football.
“I was just trying to illustrate all the appreciation I have for all the people,” Maynard said, “whether it’s teachers, coaches, the great fans in New York,” Maynard said. “And now to come back to New York with my book, that’s just made everything complete.”
“You Can’t Catch Sunshine” is cowritten with Matthew Shepatin, with a foreward by Joe Namath and is published by Triumph Books/Random House.
The Green & White inactives today are RB Joe McKnight, OL Vladimir Ducasse, T Patrick Brown, TE Jeff Cumberland, DTs Marcus Dixon and Howard Green and LB Calvin Pace. Kellen Clemens is the third QB.
Brodney Pool is active but the Jets again list two defensive starting lineup changes: Eric Smith for Pool at S and Jason Taylor for Pace at OLB.
The Patriots’ inactives are WR Taylor Price, CB Terrence Wheatley, LB Dane Fletcher, T Steve Maneri, OL Quinn Ojinnaka, DL Brandon Deaderick, T Nick Kaczur and just-signed former Jets RB/WR Danny Woodhead. The Pats are not listing a third quarterback.
Ed Hochuli will be presiding over his 15th Jets game since he became a referee in 1993. Hochuli’s had several noteworthy games, including the 1998 AFC Championship Game at Denver, the 2004 AFC Wild Card Game at San Diego, and Rex Ryan’s first game as an NFL head coach a year ago at Houston.
The Jets will be in all white for the second straight home game. In the last 10 seasons, this is only the sixth time the Jets have worn white jerseys and white pants for a home game. Four of the six have been against New England — in the 2002 home opener, the ’07 season opener and the ’09 home opener. That last was also Ryan’s first home game as Jets coach, with the Jets prevailing, 16-9.
Tags: Don Maynard, Ed Hochuli, Joe Namath, Larry Grantham, Rex Ryan
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