One thing safety Marcus Maye has noticed whenever he's driven into or out of the players' parking lot at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center is "the wall" — a stone facade bearing the name of every one of the Jets' Most Valuable Players as voted by his teammates.
Now Maye's name will be added to that wall, as the Green & White's 2020 Curtis Martin Team MVP by a vote of his teammates.
"Showing up to work each day and seeing that wall right in front of the door, you have no choice but to look at it and see all the names on it, see all the greats that have been through here," Maye told newyorkjets.com. "So just being part of that, something that's going to be there forever, that's definitely an honor."
Maye has always been a leader by example, and he's provided many on-field examples of his athletic prowess since he arrived as the Jets' second-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Florida. This year alone, there were his two sacks in his first game in a while at strong safety in the opener at the Bills; his Harlem Globetrotters-style around-the-back-and-off-the-helmet interception at the Dolphins; his dog-with-a-bone fumble recovery and deep-down-the middle pass defense in the fourth quarter, trying to pull out the game against the Raiders; and Sunday's late fourth-down go-route pass breakup, instrumental in securing the Jets' first win at the Rams.
As well, there are times Maye has to make his voice heard, not something he naturally prefers but a part of the leadership package with the 2020 Jets that he has accepted, because "having that role, you have to speak up at moments when it's called for."
But everything Maye has done in his four seasons in green and white, wearing No. 26 his first two years and No. 20 his last two, he does for his teammates and his team.
"It's just about going out there and playing the game, playing your assignments, getting to the ball, making plays when it's time," he said. "I'm out there showing the ability that I have, but it's not just me out there, it's 10 other guys. We all have a common goal and that's to make plays and win games, and when we step out on the field, that's what we try to do. So hats off to them."
See the Best Images of the Curtis Martin Team MVP
Maye joins a short list of safeties who've taken home the big award over the franchise's history. Dainard Paulson was named Team MVP in 1964, Brian Washington got the nod from his teammates in 1992, and of course, Jamal Adams received the honor in 2018 and '19. Adams and Maye came to the Jets with their first two selections in the 2017 Draft.
Maye also is the 10th defensive player to be named MVP in the last 12 years. CB Darrelle Revis got that streak started by being voted MVP in 2009 and again in '11. The only offensive players to get the honor in that span were WR Brandon Marshall in '15 and QB Josh McCown in '17.
Five other team awards were also announced today:
Frank Gore — Dennis Byrd/Most Inspirational Player
Gore may be 38 years old, but he plays like he's 28 and has the love of the game like he's 18.
"I really don't think about age," Gore, voted this year's Dennis Byrd/Most Inspirational Player, said when he first signed with the Jets in May. "I love to stay around younger guys at the position just to look at myself and be honest with myself. Like if we're doing agilities and if I'm about the same, I look the same, I know I'm going to be fine for the season.
"And I think once I get out there, the way I work and they see how I work at my age, they're going to help this team a lot."
Gore inspires not only with his attitude toward practices, games and leadership but also with his production. He is the NFL's No. 3 all-time leading rusher and needs just 48 yards to clear 16,000 yards for his career. And he has shown his trademark determination to get the tough yards all year, especially in the Rams win, when he rushed 23 times — his most carries in a game in three years — including a fourth-down 1-yard TD run, and also made the 6-yard reception to convert the third down that iced the Jets' first W of the season.
Gore joins a distinguished list of backs who have won the Byrd award since its inception late in the 1992 season after the Jets D-lineman suffered his paralyzing injury and before providing inspiration by "rising up and walking" less than a year later. Curtis Martin was named Most Inspirational three years in a row, from 2001-03. Thomas Jones won it in 2008 and '09, followed by LaDainian Tomlinson in 2010 and '11. DL Steve McLendon won the Byrd award in each of the previous three seasons.
Ryan Griffin — Ed Block Courage/Most Courageous Player
Griffin rehabbed through an ankle injury and surgery that landed him on injured reserve after Game 13 against Miami last year. After going through a unique offseason rehab during which the Jets monitored his progress through weekly Zoom meetings, he said, "I don't know if I'm ever going to feel like I did before the injury."
Yet Griffin was activated from the PUP list in late August and has played in all 14 games through the Rams, 561 plays in all this season (365 on offense, 196 on special teams) with nine receptions for 86 yards. And he's been voted as the winner of this year's Ed Block Courage Award, becoming the third TE since 1984 to receive the honor, following Chris Baker in 2006 and Jeff Cumberland in 2012.
Each year "the Block" goes to a player by a vote of his teammates on each of the NFL's 32 teams. The award honors players who exemplify commitments to the principles of sportsmanship and courage.
Matthias Farley — Marty Lyons/Community Service
Farley came to the Jets as a free agent in August 2019, immediately focused off the field on the team's community service activities, and has never let up. He takes home the "Lyons" for the second straight year and joins C Kevin Mawae and CB Kyle Wilson as the only two-time Lyons winners since 1990. Wilson is the only other Jet to win it at the end of consecutive seasons in 2013-14.
The award is named after Lyons, the former Jets first-round draft pick, member of the "New York Sack Exchange," Ring of Honor member, current radio analyst of the Jets, and the longtime proponent of community service through his foundation.
Folorunso Fatukasi — Kyle Clifton/"Good Guy"
Fatukasi is another two-time award winner, in his case of the Kyle Clifton Good Guy Award as voted on by the Jets staff. He won this honor last year as well and so is the only Clifton double winner in back-to-back years. K Nick Folk also was named the staff's "Good Guy" in 2012 and again in '16. The award is named after Clifton, the Green & White's 13-year linebacker.
Denzel Mims — Bill Hampton/"Rookie Who Acts Like a Pro"
Mims, the second-round wideout from Baylor who has played like a pro after finally coming off IR to begin his Jets career in Game 7 against Buffalo, has also conducted himself like a pro in the locker room all year and has been presented with the Bill Hampton Award, which is named after the Jets' longtime equipment manager and is voted on by the equipment staff and past award recipients.
Mims is the third WR (following Brad Smith in 2006 and Chad Hansen in 2017) and the 12th offensive player to grab the Hampton since its inception in 2004.