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Raiders’ Maxx Crosby calls contract extension ‘a major blessing’

Updated March 12, 2022 - 10:01 am

As the possibility of signing a long-term extension drew near, Maxx Crosby grew nervous. Hence the anxious week the Raiders’ Pro Bowl defensive end just went through.

“It was stressful, but it was also exciting,” Crosby said. “It was a good kind of stress.”

It all ended exactly as he hoped, with the Raiders making sure Crosby will remain in Las Vegas on a four-year contract for a reported $98.98 million and $53 million guaranteed.

“It’s a major blessing,” Crosby said. “There’s no other place I’d rather be. I want to be a Raider for life. I got it tatted on me before I ever made a play or anything.”

The huge investment is a just reward for the former fourth-round draft pick out of Eastern Michigan, not only for the pass-rush work he’s produced over the last three years but the lifestyle decision he made in 2020 to get sober.

That’s what made Friday so significant. It not only marked two years of sobriety for Crosby but also a chance to build on the foundation he laid last year as one of the best rush ends in professional football.

The coinciding of the two moments was not planned.

“You can’t make it up, man,” Crosby said. “A lot of people have been asking, ‘Did you plan to do that?’ and I’m like, nah, it just happened. It was the universe. It was supposed to happen. It’s a major blessing.”

The difference between two years ago and today is striking. Crosby was reminded of the contrast when his fiancee recently sent him a photo of himself from exactly two years ago.

“It was me checking into rehab,” Crosby said. “Just seeing how I looked, the look on my face and how much different I looked. I didn’t even recognize that person.”

It’s something he won’t take for granted.

“Just two years later I have the ability to not only take care of myself forever but my kids and my dogs, most importantly,” Crosby said. “Just everything in general. It’s unbelievable. I’ve come from a tough situation, but I just want to show people out there that anything’s possible if you put your mind to it.”

Crosby has 25 career sacks over three seasons, including the eight he had last year. The sack total only scratches the surface of his impact, though, especially in 2021 when he was among the most productive pass rushers in the NFL in terms of harassing opposing quarterbacks.

Crosby’s 100 quarterback pressures led the NFL, and his impact benefited fellow Raiders defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who had 10 sacks.

The commitment from the Raiders also ended any questions about how Crosby was viewed by new coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler, and how they assessed his place in new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s defense.

In fact, McDaniels and Ziegler made it clear almost as soon as they arrived in Las Vegas that Crosby was a priority. Talks on a new deal commenced immediately.

“They wanted to get it done fast. We wanted to get it done fast,” Crosby said. “But it had to be done right at the same time. It’s a big credit to the organization, to Dave Ziegler and Coach McDaniels. They showed their commitment to me right away. And they didn’t want to play any games. They told me everything you want to hear as a player with new coaches coming in. They were awesome.”

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore onTwitter.

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