Rex Ryan has a phrase that pays about Aaron Maybin: "He doesn't play with any brakes. He doesn't slow down until he runs into something."
That was the case today in the first full-pads practice of Jets training camp. And so, after making a few more headlong pass rushes, after dropping Bilal Powell for a 5-yard loss on a toss play, after getting into a few one-second skirmishes with teammates, and on the way to getting an IV for his efforts on what was also the first hot day of camp, Maybin chilled with some non-stop quotes for reporters at SUNY Cortland.
Why, one inquiring mind wanted to know, was the Jets linebacker so particularly amped today.
"Where else would you rather be?" Maybin replied, interestingly using the phrase made famous by Marv Levy long before Maybin first arrived in Buffalo. "The first day of pads is like Christmas Day. It's the first time you get a chance to put hands on somebody and let it really mean something.
"The entire time you're going through OTAs and minicamp, it's all about being a good teammate and making sure you're getting good work, you're giving people a good look, and taking care of each other. But once you put the pads on, it's time to compete 'cause you got to find out who can play this game and who can't."
As the Jets and their fans have discovered, as the Bills found out too late, Maybin can play this game.
"The guy has been tremendous," Ryan said at today's midday news conference. "He reminds me a little of Michael McCrary in the fact that when I had that young man in Baltimore, he was relentless. That's the way Aaron plays. He goes 100 miles an hour. I think LaRon Landry and him, that's kind of how they do it."
Maybin returned the head coach's compliment with one of his own and also agreed with the premise that part of the reason that he was amped today was not only because of the pads but because it was his first day of pads in a Cortland training camp. Last year, of course, he didn't join the Jets until Aug. 17 at their camp at the Atlantic Health Training Center.
"I've been saying it since I got here. I have so much appreciation and love for this organization and this team for what they've done for me and my career and giving me this opportunity. I would be cheating them, I would be cheating myself by not laying everything out on the line.
"That's the way this game's supposed to be played, that's the way they expect us to play it. So if I'm not going out here and giving 110 percent, I'm not earning my paycheck."
He earned his checks last season with his six sacks and four forced fumbles in limited defensive exposure, thus joining Calvin Pace in '08 as the only Jets LBs since 1982 to have at least six sacks and four FFs in a season. That production plus his relentlessness equals a shot at more playing time this year.
"You have to earn your way out there," Ryan said, "and I think Aaron is on his way to earning more reps and more responsibility from us." Once he was finished with the reporters, Maybin ran for the trainers' room. He had a belated appointment with some intravenous fluids. The IV bag probably never knew what hit it.