Almost enough time has passed now for Sunday’s Jets-Bills game to be just another season-opener for Aaron Maybin.
“It’s not necessarily over. Something like that ‘s never over,” Maybin told me this afternoon in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center locker room about being cut by the Bills less than 13 months ago. “As a player you never … give me a minute to say this the right way … you never forget the way you felt when a team let you go, when you feel like you had an opportunity taken away from you.”
But let’s not push the revenge angle too hard for Maybin’s third meeting against the team that took him 11th overall in the 2009 draft. It’s not exactly like that.
“Do I hold any contempt or resentment towards that organization? No,” he said, in fact without any seeming contempt or resentment. “They drafted me. A part of the reason my life is what it is right now, they gave me an opportunity to play the game I love at the highest level you can reach in this profession.
“I don’t think I’m ever really going to get over how the whole situation out there transpired because that wasn’t how I wanted it to work out. I wanted things to go well. But it was what it was. Me being in the position I am now with this team, I’m just excited to be blessed enough to still have the opportunity to do what I love on an every-day basis and it’s to go out and compete against the team I started at.”
In other words, no hard feelings, but here comes No. 51 at you again.
That’s kind of how Maybin played the Bills last season. In his first encounter, back up at Ralph Wilson Stadium, which he called home his first two NFL seasons, he pressured Ryan Fitzpatrick into an interception late in the first half and forced LT Andy Levitre into a holding penalty in the fourth quarter.
Then three weeks later at MetLife Stadium, Maybin picked up some of the gold currency of his pass-rushing trade, two sacks of Fitzpatrick to force three-and-outs, plus a half-tackle for loss of C.J. Spiller and a 15-yard penalty on RT Erik Pears for unnecessary roughness.
But Maybin is still mindful of trying to not turn Sunday’s third rematch with the Bills into a personal crusade.
“The games against Buffalo have never been about me. I never wanted myself to be a distraction. I didn’t want the attention to be centered on me just because of the storyline,” he said. “I think that’s doing a disservice to my teammates and my coaching staff because it makes all the work we’ve been putting in, not just for this game but for the start of this season, seem like it’s less important than it really is.”
Maybin remains a dangerous component to the Jets defense, not because of who the opponent is but because of who he is, a guy who wants to make big plays, as a pass-rusher, a punt-rusher or elsewhere, to help his team win and launch them past all the offseason and preseason blah-blah-blah and headlong into the 2012 season.
But as he reminds in case we forgot, “This game is always going to be a game I get charged up for. I don’t think that’s ever going to go away.”
Similar to DT Sione Po‘uha’s self-prognosis earlier in the week, TE Dustin Keller today left no doubt he thinks he’ll be ready to rock and roll vs. Buffalo despite his hamstring. “If everything keeps going the way it’s been going, I’ll be fine for the game,” Keller said today. “It’s getting better.”
Head coach Rex Ryan sounded cautiously optimistic regarding QB Mark Sanchez’s favorite target for the last two seasons combined (averaging 6.7 targets and 3.8 catches a game for the Jets’ 35 games in 2010-11). “Dustin looked decent running yesterday. I don’t think he was ready to play and run 100 percent,” Ryan said. “I’m still hopeful he’ll play against Buffalo. We’ll see.”
Keller was limited in team drills today after not participating Wednesday. S LaRon Landry (heel), who was a full participant Wednesday, did not work in team drills today — as part of a season-long plan to give Landry’s foot one day of no team drills during the week — along with S Eric Smith (hip/knee), who’s not a likely participant Sunday. RB-KR Joe McKnight (hamstring) and LB Nick Bellore (shoulder) were full-go’s today, as was rookie WR Stephen Hill, who was added to the list with a calf situation.
Two changes on the Bills’ short I-list: WR Stevie Johnson (groin) went from limited to not participating, while G Kraig Urbik (low back) reversed that, going from DNP to limited.
Tags: Aaron Maybin, Buffalo Bills, Dustin Keller, Eric Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick
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