Ex-Bear Brad Maynard glad to move on

Updated: July 26, 2011, 12:15 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Brad Maynard's exit from the Chicago Bears was no surprise to the veteran punter especially after enduring a deteriorating relationship the past year and a half with special teams coach Dave Toub.

Maynard was told by the coaching staff in late January that his chances of returning to the team were slim during an exit physical following the NFC Championship Game loss to the Green Bay Packers.

"I think hearing it was the hardest part," Maynard said Tuesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "I kind of prepared myself this entire offseason, prepared my wife and my kids for this day. I truly didn't believe I would be back in a Bears uniform next year. When I left my last day I cleaned out my entire locker. I took every single item with me.

"I felt the same as [the Bears] felt. I felt like I needed a change as well. Not to say that I wouldn't have come back if we talked to them and we could work out a deal and maybe put a few clauses in there which I'll keep to myself. I kind if felt like I needed a change as well and had my heart set on going elsewhere."

Maynard, who signed with the Bears as a free agent before the 2001 season, was the second-longest tenured Bear behind long snapper Patrick Mannelly. He is still considered one of the top directional punters in the NFL, and placed 24 punts inside the 20-yard line last year.

But he said his relationship with Toub began to unravel late in the 2009 season.

"[Toub] always used to let me call the direction of every kick," Maynard said. "I'd come up to him on the sidelines and say, 'Hey, let's go left here.' And he would just relay the message to all the guys standing around. Late in the '09 season I ran up there and said, 'Let's go left,' and it was 'No, I'm calling it from now on, we're going right.' It just kind of took me aback a little bit.

"I talked to Patrick and [kicker] Robbie [Gould] about this from that point on over the next couple years and there were times when I literally would say left and he would say right and I would say I can't go right. The wind is blowing right to left, we need to go left. If I hit it right down the middle it's going to carry down the left sideline, and he wouldn't let me do it.

"I've had some teammates say you call the direction and we'll cover it. Just let us know. But I can't do that. I'm not that type of player. I'm not selfish. I'm going to do what my coach asks me to do."

Bears coaches are not permitted to speak with the media until training camp officially opens on Friday.

The Bears took issue with Maynard's statistical performance in 2010, when he averaged 40.1 yards per kick to go along with a net average of 35.2 yards. Some in the organization believed Maynard, 37, is no longer suited to kick in a cold-weather city like Chicago.

In February, the Bears signed punter Richmond McGee, who spent parts of last season on the practice squad, and also figure to be in the market for a veteran free agent.

Gould is sorry to see his good friend go.

"He's helped Dave Toub's career tremendously by the fact of having a punter that can do what he did," Gould said. "He'll continue to do it. I think he's got a lot of years ahead of him. He's a veteran, knows how to punt, done a great job. Would I love to have him back? Absolutely. But unfortunately, right now that's not the decision I have to make because I'm a player. I have to put the ball through the uprights, that's what I get paid to do. That's why [coach] Lovie [Smith], [general manager] Jerry [Angelo] and the rest of the organization gets paid to make those decisions."

ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson contributed to this report.

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