Houston Chronicle

August 21, 1974

By Tony Pederson

Will Play Against Stars

Maynard Signs With Texans

NEW YORK - Fourteen years in New York city didn't change Don Maynard a bit. It was almost like he never left Texas to play with the New York Jets and establish himself as the all-time leading pass receiver in the National Football League.

After spending months of peaceful rest at his home near El Paso, Maynard has signed with the Houston Texans of the World Football League. He returned to New York Tuesday to try to help the Texans beat the New York Stars tonight.

Maynard spent weeks debating his return to football, but finally showed up in Houston during the past weekend. The Texas accent is still there. Lean and trim, the only difference in his appearance are shades of gray in his long sideburns and mustache.

Maynard said he didn't know what to expect in the WFL and can't make any assessment of WFL talent because he has seen no games. He doesn't have a television to disrupt his quiet existence in El Paso.

"But I've been trying to get over here (to Houston) for some time," Maynard said Monday as the Texans finished preparations for the game with the Stars. "But I've had all kinds of problems. We had a couple of funerals and some folks to see and one day I had made plans to come but the electricity went out at my house early that morning.

"Then my wife broke her foot and that kept me out there. There were several times when I thought I'd be able to leave in another day or two but things kept coming up."

It's no secret that the Texans have had difficulty getting consistent receivers. Maynard reunites with Mike Taliaferro, a former teammate for four seasons with the Jets. As a backup quarterback to Joe Namath, Taliaferro had ample opportunities to pass to Maynard because of Namath's history of injuries.

After the Texans workout Monday Taliaferro and Maynard huddled in a corner of the dressing room in the Astrodome. Occasionally Maynard would break out smiling and spend almost a minute shaking with laughter.

"We've just been telling some old stories," Maynard said, "Mike and I know a bunch of them, We were talking about the field on Randalls Island (location of Downing Stadium, where the Stars play their home games.) I've played in soccer shoes for almost 14 years but I don't think I'm going to wear them there because they never water the field."

On the serious side, Maynard said he had always felt Taliaferro was one of the top passers in professional football.

"He led us through an entire exhibition season once when Joe was hurt and Mike got to play quite a bit during the regular season," Maynard said. "But Joe was going to play when he got well no matter how good Mike played. That's just the way it was with the Jets."

Maynard, now 37, retired from football last year to relax at his place near the Rio Grande River. It's not exactly a ranch (he has only one animal, a goat) but the air is clean and there's no noise and that's what Maynard likes.

"I live about 15 miles from El Paso on the west side and there's no pollution when the wind comes off the Baja," he said. "It's a nice little place. I don't grow much, just a little alfalfa."

But he left El Paso, against his wife's objections, to return to the mayhem of travel and football.

"My wife was against it because her and the kids could not come along since they're in high school now," he said. "Plus we won't be in New York where most of our friends still are."

Texan Coach Jim Garrett said he had plans to use Maynard in about 20 plays against the Stars. Maynard said he isn't in "midseason shape" but said he feels well and thinks he can play.

He spent the weekend working out with the Texans to make sure he wanted to play before signing Tuesday afternoon. By solving his problems and getting on the roster he may have solved some of the Texans offensive problems.

TEXAN NOTES - The Texans Tuesday solved the situation involving former Houston quarterback D.C Nobles and the Hawaiians. Nobles had been a 25th-round draft choice of the Hawaiians and the Hawaiians were asking for Houston defensive starter Willie Parker on an even trade. However, the Texans gave up a ninth-round draft choice for negotiation rights to Nobles and he is expected to sign this week...The New York Stars under Babe Parilli have accumulated a 4-2 record in the WFL, losing only their first two games to Jacksonville and Birmingham. The Texans are 2-3-1...Former Oakland wide receiver Warren Wells is on the traveling squad with the Texans for the first time this season and is expected to be in uniform tonight. Indications are he will be used on a limited basis.