In an article published to BuffaloNews.com, columnist Tim Graham observed recent comments made by New York Jets OLB Aaron Maybin. Graham, like many fans and analysts out there, has taken a very negative view of what Maybin has said, declaring him as egotistical and “delusional.” However, when looking at Maybin’s thoughts and comments, with bias aside, there is certainly another way to interpret what the former first round draft choice was preaching. Let’s take a look at each quote while observing how people are interpreting it, along with an alternate translation.
“Me and that slow-down button don’t get along too well, but I’m learning.”
This quote was used as an example to demonstrate how Aaron Maybin’s ego has been refueled in New York. However, finishing the quote by saying “but I’m learning,” tells me something else. Maybin seemingly realizes that he plays completely out of control at times. Although he accumulated 6 sacks over 12 games last season, anyone who knows anything about rushing the passer can tell you that he probably would have reached double digits in sacks if he played with any type of control. Maybin’s high motor is certainly one of the positives to his game, however, getting to the quarterback is an art. Not only do you need to be extremely fast and explosive off of the line of scrimmage, but you also need to have the awareness to slow it down just at the right moment, or you will find yourself running right past the quarterback as he steps up into the pocket, something Maybin did countless times last season. So, while some wish to consider him egotistical for praising his own motor, it is actually a case of Maybin seemingly poking fun at himself, while making the clear assertion that he needs to be more under control to build on his success from last year.
“It is hard to say that you are satisfied, but I am saying this is probably the most fun I’ve had in a training camp in my career.”
Apparently this has been interpreted as Maybin taking a shot at the Bills. People have criticized this comment because Maybin has only been in about 2.5 training camps, if you take his rookie hold out and the fact that he was released twice last season into account. So, because he doesn’t quite have three full training camps under his belt, he isn’t allowed to have fun? Graham makes the argument that he speaks as if he has experience similar to that of Pro Football Hall of Famers.
I’m just not sure what to make of this. Yes, Maybin certainly does not have the most experience in the NFL. However, he simply declared, in comparison to his prior experience, this is the most fun he has had in camp during his short career. Putting any Jets or Bills bias aside, it is fair to say that the more significant role you have on the team, the more enjoying practice will be. This can be related to any field of work. Who do you think has more fun at ESPN every day, Adam Schefter or the night cleaning crew? Who has more fun at the Tonight Show, Jay Leno, or the people collecting tickets at the door? No disrespect to anyone, but work is simply more enjoyable when you have a prominent role in your company, regardless of what field you are in. Maybin finally has a significant role, in an elite defense mind you, so to him, it is exciting to get out there and work towards improving himself and the team every day.
As far as his statement declaring that it is hard to stay satisfied, there is no doubt that anyone associated with sports at any level knows that the best ones never are. Do you think Kobe Bryant is content with five NBA championships? Is Tom Brady happy with his three Super Bowls? Is LeBron James all set now that he has finally won a single Championship? If they were, what would be the point of playing the game? The great ones are never satisfied, regardless of the amount of success they have had. Peyton Manning would already be in discussion as the greatest Quarterback to ever play the game if he were to retire today, however he has worked himself back from a very serious neck injury to continue his career. I can assure you his motivation was not financially related. Any of these players are perfectly fine in that area. Instead, it is that competitive drive, the lifeblood that has propelled each of their careers since the day they began playing their respective sports. Is it a coincidence that players like Brett Favre, Jerry Rice, and Michael Jordan had such a difficult time walking away from the game?
For the most part, anyone who has made it to the professional level, possesses or has possessed that drive at some point during their careers. Maybin struggled early, but because of his hunger, worked himself to a notable season last year. Now, he has simply tasted how sweet personal success is, and he wants more. Maybin is hungry to bring further success not only to himself, but to his team as well. So, while he is being criticized for being cocky, it is simply a matter of the mindset of a professional athlete, the desire to be the best of the best, the need for success and nothing else. Some have it, others don’t, and that can be the difference between good and outstanding when it comes to sports. Maybin is being condemned for speaking about his drive, but he should instead be praised for his continued work ethic to build on his strong 2011.
The final point to be made is the hypocritical title of Graham’s article, since it was posted to a Bills biased news source. Graham entitled his article “Aaron Maybin pretends he has veteran perspective.”
Again, Graham, like everyone else, is entitled to their own opinion and interpretation of quotes. However, Graham claims that Maybin is “a tad delusional about his brief NFL tenure.” This is an interesting choice of words considering how most people closely associated with the Bills seem more than a tad delusional about their complete lack of success over the past two decades. The last time the Bills even appeared in the post season, they fell to Tennessee in what is today known as the Music City Miracle. Yet, Buffalo had a strong offseason and everyone is ready to crown them as the number two team in the division with an almost guaranteed wild card spot. To talk about another team or player having an undeserving sense of entitlement, is beyond hypocritical of anyone associated with Buffalo, considering the franchise’s extensive stretch of below average play.