A year ago, the New York Jets were selling #51 jerseys with “Mayhem” stitched on the nameplate.
The NFL career of linebacker Aaron Maybin, and the nickname given to him by former Penn State coach Joe Paterno, had been reborn with the Jets in 2011, just months after he was released by the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills drafted Maybin with the 11th overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, and the ex-Nittany Lion star was a total bust in two seasons in Buffalo, recording zero sacks and barely earning playing time at all.
The Jets took a flier on the man they call “Mayhem,” and he showed glimpses of what made him a top pick, recording a team-high 6.0 sacks and four forced fumbles in 13 games, in a third-down pass rusher role.
Unfortunately for Maybin and the Jets, his second wind was short-lived. He returned for a second season with the Jets in 2012, and hardly had the same kind of on-field impact, leading to his release Tuesday afternoon.
Maybin had no sacks and only one total tackle in eight games this season. He was inactive in Week 10, after the Jets called up Ricky Sapp from the practice squad. Sapp showed promise in his NFL debut, making Maybin expendable.
To take Maybin’s spot on the 53-man roster, the Jets signed free agent running back Kahlil Bell, after they worked out a few free agent running backs on Tuesday, in the wake of Bilal Powell‘s recent concussion.
With Powell sidelined due to injury again, and Joe McKnight still nursing a high ankle sprain, starter Shonn Greene was the only healthy running back standing until the Jets signed the 25-year-old Bell.
Bell played in 13 games with the Chicago Bears in 2011, rushing for 4.3 yards per carry. Powell will have to be medically cleared for contact before he suits up again. McKnight has not played since Week 8.
For Aaron Maybin, getting let go by the pass rush-starved Jets is a major setback for his NFL career. He was well liked by fans and teammates, but the Jets appear confident in Ricky Sapp’s ability to take over Maybin’s former role.