Maybin Has Best Seat In House

Nfl Draft 2009

April 26, 2009|By David Steele

LARGO -Aaron Maybin never thought for a second about accepting the NFL's invitation to be on site when his name was called at Radio City Music Hall on Saturday. Not unless the NFL, or somebody else, could figure out a way to fit 500 relatives, friends and extended family members into the building.

"I think you can look around and see the kind of support I have in here. Believe me, it was a no-brainer," Maybin said, exhausted but still giddy an hour after his dream came true in the NFL draft.

"Here," for this day, at least, was The Sideline restaurant, at the Boulevard at the Capital Centre. It had been packed since a half-hour before the start of the draft, and every person in the place had a personal connection to Maybin, through his family in Ellicott City, his elementary school days, his youth football years, his high school career at Mount Hebron or his college days at Penn State. There were no walk-ins or curious passers-by allowed in - it was reserved for the "family."

Thus, the roar that went up about an hour and a half into the first round had even more meaning and emotion. When the Buffalo Bills chose him 11th overall - the second defensive end chosen, a mild surprise considering the pre-draft predictions - within a couple of minutes of the official selection, there wasn't a dry eye in the building. Certainly not Maybin's, as he sat listening on his cell phone, flanked by his mother, Violette, and father, Mike.

Soon afterward, Maybin stood up to wrap his family in a bearhug - his parents, his teenage sister, Connie, two younger cousins, his grandfather on his father's side and his grandmother on his mother's side.

Then, the waves of uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews and former coaches, teachers and teammates - including LaVar Arrington, a mentor, fellow former Penn State star and the restaurant's owner - began working their way into the roped-off area where Maybin sat. It was only the first of many times the rest of the day that Maybin was pinned in, hugging people, kissing babies, signing the VIP passes and soaking in the moment.

"We are people of relationships," Maybin's father said. "Either you belong in the inner circle or you don't. But once you belong, you belong."

The "inner circle" had been growing for years, embracing the nuclear family in the Baltimore area through every up and down, from Maybin's birth mother, Connie, dying soon after giving birth to his sister, through January's announcement of his departure to the NFL with two years of eligibility left.

For this moment, the family created a Web site to plan the festivities, and relatives from as far away as Florida showed up.

"Everybody here is connected," Mike Maybin said.

Added the younger Maybin: "I'm not here without all of them. Seriously, all of them."

It had been long expected that Brian Orakpo, from Texas, would be the first defensive end chosen, and as draft day approached, LSU's Tyson Jackson moved ahead of Maybin on the draft boards. But while Jackson was chosen third overall by the Kansas City Chiefs, Maybin was taken two picks before Orapko, who went to the Washington Redskins.

That was enjoyable for the family, but the mere fact that Maybin had gone so high, and to a Bills team with some promise, was far more exhilarating.

"I didn't know how it was going to fall into place, but I couldn't be happier," Maybin said. "I'm really blessed."

And surrounded by enough of a support system to fill up a good-size restaurant.

Listen to David Steele on Mondays from 4 p.m to 6 p.m and Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. on Fox Sports 1570 AM.

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