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No. 13 served out his rookie year returning kickoffs and punts and filling in as a substitute for such star running backs as Alex Webster, now the Giant head coach, and Frank Gifford. The season might have been considered a modest success for Maynard had he not fumbled a punt in a crucial game at Yankee Stadium against the Cleveland Browns. The Giants won that game anyway 10-0 and went on to play for the NFL championship, but Giant fans, never gracious at best, took to razzing Maynard. "Bad hands," was the verdict.
The country boy from Texas never did fit in with the closely knit, cosmopolitan Giant organization. During the exhibition season the next fall, Maynard delivered a sharp retort to Allie Sherman, who was coaching the offense, after Sherman suggested he cut down on his long, loping stride. "This isn't a track meet," Sherman said.
"I can cover more ground with one stride than anybody else here can with three," Maynard snapped. He was cut from the Giants a few days later.
Though depressed at being axed so abruptly, Maynard had never felt comfortable as an NFL running back. "It was fine in college," he says, "but when you weigh only 173 pounds, to be a running back is kind of a joke in the pros."
Apparently, inside Maynard's thin frame there has always been a fat man, or at least a sturdy one, struggling to get out. A line coach at Texas Western once mentioned to him that if he just had his tonsils removed he would gain 15 to 20 pounds. Right away Maynard wanted them out.
"There wasn't anything wrong with my tonsils, but I was thinking, dad gum, that I'd be some rompin', stompin' kind of football player if I weighed 190," says Maynard, smiling at the recollection. "They gave me a local and snipped the things out. Then I started to hemorrhage, swallowed blood by the quart, and they had to put in five stitches to fix me up. Of course I never gained a pound."
Being on the skinny side is slightly less of a handicap for the player who flanks out wide and whose only duties involve catching passes. And so it was as a flanker that Maynard joined the New York Titans in 1960 after he had played with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League for one desultory season.
The Titans of 1960 were a new team in a new league, the AFL. Their owner was Harry Wismer, the frantic-voiced sportscaster. Their first coach was Sammy Baugh, who had been coaching at Hardin-Simmons University in Texas since retiring with all his passing records from the Washington Redskins. Maynard was the first player the Titans signed.
"Sammy and I were like old friends," Maynard recalls. "Td played against his teams in college and played for him in the Blue-Gray game. I'd never caught many passes at Texas Western because we didn't throw more than about nine times a game, but my gain per catch was pretty high, 27.6 yards, and so Sam said if I came to the Titans he'd make me his No. 1 receiver."
Maynard and Baugh may have been soul mates as well. Even as a Redskin in the 1930s, Baugh dressed like a cowboy. Grantham recalls meeting Maynard for the first time when the Titans reported to their preseason camp at the University of New Hampshire in Durham.