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Where Are They Now

Where Are They Now: Maurice Tyler

Catch Up with the Former Defensive Back from Baltimore

Cornerback Maurice Tyler, 1977.

You can't buy experience, but you can claim it off waivers.

After playing for Buffalo, Denver, San Diego, and Detroit, the Jets picked sixth-year veteran defensive back Maurice Tyler off the waiver wire one month before the 1977 training camp opened at Hofstra.

"I was excited. It gave me the opportunity to continue my professional career," Tyler said. "I knew several of the guys already on the team. And it was close to an area where I lived for a period of time, talking about New Jersey. All that was a blessing with that union with the Jets.

"I kind of thought that I would get a chance to move back to safety. When I came into the league, I started as a safety for the Bills. And then it's funny, I guess I've always had good man-to-man coverage skills and I was moved out to the corner.

"I just had a passion for the game, just loved the game. I'd always been one of those kinds of players that wherever my coach needed me, I was willing to make that sacrifice for the team."

On a roster with 16 rookies and only five players with more experience, Tyler was sought out by his younger Jet teammates for advice. But given that there's always seemingly someone looking to take someone else's position, giving out pointers may have proved to be detrimental.

However, advice that Tyler was given as a younger player, about the team coming first, had stayed with him.

"My third year in the league, Otto Stowe, who was a second-round draft choice for the Dolphins back in the day, played with (Hall of Fame wide receiver) Paul Warfield, who was on that '72 undefeated team," Tyler said.

"And the conversation that he had with Otto Stowe was that the reason that, and I took that and ran with it, 'If he takes my job, he's going to take my job anyway. However, if I'm still here and I go ahead and put my work in and maintain my job, but unfortunately get hurt, then he's got to step up. So he needs to be ready.

"'If he's not ready, his lack of ability or lack of knowledge or lack of preparation is going to hurt me because I'm hurt. He needs to be play. He needs to be ready. So I'm going to make sure that I give him every opportunity that in the event something does happen to me, he's going to be able to help me and the team be successful.'"

Even though Tyler was with the Jets for one less-than-memorable 3-11 season, he looks back fondly at his time with the Green & White.

"Winning that starting position, working with Joe Gardi, who later became the coach at Hofstra University, those guys, really, that family unity, is one of my greatest treasures," Tyler said. "Shafer Suggs, Burgess Owens, Joe Klecko, those guys were just a good bunch of people to work with, to play with.  

"And Bruce Harper, I remember his rookie year was my first year with the Jets, as well, and I told him he had my rookie number, 42. I told him, 'The number don't make the player, the player makes the number and just work hard.' And he had an outstanding career. All the guys were family."

Tyler went on to play for the Giants in 1978, his seventh year in the NFL, before wrapping up his gridiron career by spending two seasons in the CFL and two in the USFL.

Following football, Tyler went into hotel management for Hyatt Hotels before working in the sales industry. He's now teaching and is a football coach.

"My passion was always to play pro football. But the reason I got into education was that I had an uncle in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, named Norman Hines, who was an outstanding basketball coach. And I thought if I don't play football, I can go back and I can teach and coach. And so that was my fallback," Tyler said.

"I coached at Clark Atlanta University and Illinois State, and I've done internships with the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots. Actually, Jerry Glanville offered me a job as a secondary coach with the Falcons. However, I was the head coach at a high school and when I took that job over, they were 0-10. I promised the kids I wouldn't leave until they graduated or we went undefeated. And then their senior year, they did go undefeated, and so we accomplished that goal.

"I've been coaching some high school kids and working with some guys trying to get to the NFL. So I do a lot of mentoring and a lot of personal training."

Making their home in Marietta, Georgia, Tyler and his wife, Marilyn, have four children and 10 grandchildren. Since 2007, he has taught health and physical education at Elizabeth Andrews High School in Stone Mountain. What does Tyler enjoy most about being a teacher?

"To see them develop. I'm a firm believer that everybody wants to be successful and I can believe everybody wants a discipline," he said. "However, if they don't know it or they don't see it, it's hard for them to imagine what discipline is and what success is. So I sit down and give these young men and women the opportunity to assess where they want to be, where they see themselves in the next five or 10 years. We have a plan and we work with it.

"And the thing I like about it is that after these young men and women graduate and go on, they still stay in contact with me. They call and say thanks. Or some that are in the area and are young parents, they want to know if I would talk to their kids if they can't get things to work out right. So just that loyalty or that caring that they give back."