After a 10 year run with the team, the Bears have informed punted Brad Maynard that they will not be pursuing him in free agency. It’s not a huge surprise, given Maynard’s age and a down year punting last year, where he ranked 32nd in punt average, coming off hip surgery.
The fact that the Bears signed newcomer Richmond McGee to a 2-year deal last offseason before the lockout. Former Jets punter Steve Weatherford’s name has also been linked to the Bears.
In his 10 seasons with the Beloved, Maynard has punted nearly 900 times for over 36,000 yards. That’s almost 20 miles worth of punts. No wonder the guy’s hip is starting to go. In all of those attempts, he’s only been blocked 4 times while putting a staggering 407 punts inside the 20 yard line, best for 2nd all time in that category.
A couple of guys who will be directly affected by Maynard’s departure are his “battery-mates” if you will; long snapper Patrick Mannelly and placekicker Robbie Gould. Mannelly has spent all 10 of Maynard’s seasons looking up at him from between his legs 15-yards back.
Mannelly was surprised by the announcement:
“It’s been 10 years we’ve worked together and you just never think it’s going to end,” Mannelly said. “It caught me off guard.
Any time you are a free agent, it can happen. But it’s unbelievably sad to see him go. It’s going to be difficult to find someone to fill those shoes as smooth as we operated with Robbie (Gould) and as good of a punter as Brad is.”
Another area where Maynard will be missed is as the holder for Robbie Gould’s field goals. The sure handed Maynard was solid in getting the ball down for almost all field goals. If you think it’s that easy, ask Tony Romo about it. Consider this yet another hurdle for Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub to overcome.
Maynard expects to get a few sniffs around the league with the Washington Redskins reportedly interested.
The lockout may be over, but for Maynard his unemployment will (temporarily) continue.
Thanks for the memories Brad.