Like a crosswind off Lake Michigan, Brad Maynard saw it coming. After 10 years punting in a Bears uniform in rain, sleet, and snow at Soldier Field, he will not be returning to the Bears.
"I can't say its a total surprise" Maynard told NBCChicago, after receiving a phone call from Bears head coach Lovie Smith 4:30 pm Monday. "I kind of expected it."
Maynard admitted that he and another Bears staffer were not seeing eye to eye on his directional punts, a disagreement that reached a crescendo during last year's bye week.
"Obviously I'm a pretty motivated guy right now" the 37 year old 14-year NFL veteran said.
Maynard landed 24 punts inside the 20 during the 2010 season, and though he admitted it wasn't his best year, he still has second-most punts landed inside the 20 in the NFL since the stat started being recorded 35 years ago.
Maynard says he still has a few good years left in him, although Chicago was special.
"The Bears came to my high school with a traveling basketball team back when I was a little kid, so a lot of great memories, met a lot of good people, a lot of lifelong friends will be missed," Maynard said.
Long snapper Pat Mannelly has worked with Maynard the past 10 years with the Bears, which he called a "mind boggling" amount of time for two teammates to spend together with the same team.
Mannelly compared it to baseball's pitcher/catcher combination because they know each other's strengths and weaknesses.
"It'll be tough to see him go as a friend and someone I worked together with 10 years," Mannelly said.