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Crosby excited about Raiders coach, GM hires: ‘Guys were fired up’

Updated February 9, 2024 - 1:33 am

Maxx Crosby spoke his piece more than once. He was adamant in his opinion.

He wanted Antonio Pierce to be the full-time coach of the Raiders.

Period. The end.

You can imagine, then, how much the elite defensive end agreed with Pierce having the interim tag removed from his title. You can guess how excited Crosby is about what transpired the past few weeks.

Crosby on Tuesday during Super Bowl week participated at a soggy EA Sports and Madden NFL Field the Future Event at Sunrise Mountain High, a combine of sorts for young players.

He talked about how important it was to be there, how it’s a significant part of his journey, how you’re always going to receive blessings from giving back.

Talked about the hiring of Pierce and new general manager Tom Telesco.

Making connections

“I knew guys were fired up about (Pierce) and obviously I was passionate about speaking for the guys and for the fans,” said Crosby, rehabbing from knee and hand surgeries. “I just want to win. I’m over just getting better. I want to be part of a winning culture. Keeping (Pierce) was the first step, but we have a ton of work to do to take this thing to where we know it can go.”

His agent connected Crosby with Telesco soon after the move was announced. Crosby came away with a positive impression.

“Called him right away and had a good conversation,” Crosby said. “You can tell he’s about business. He drafted a lot of great players, unfortunately with the Chargers. But he’s with the dark side now, the right side. We’re happy to have him.”

And the star player is happy he can continue to make a difference in the lives of others.

The rain fell hard Tuesday, but that wasn’t going to stop Crosby. He made a commitment to the kids. It was just another way to give back.

This is why the All-Pro is the Raiders’ nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. It recognizes a player’s commitment to philanthropy and community impact, as well as his excellence on the field.

Crosby more than fits the mold. He’d be a worthy recipient when the winner is announced at the NFL Honors show Thursday night.

“At the end of the day, it’s how I live my life,” Crosby said. “To be in this position as an NFL player … I don’t forget where I came from. I just keep working every day to get better on and off the field. Stay on point in every way. Just keep being hungry for more.

“I don’t take any of this for granted. I work to be in this position and stay here, to make a positive impact in the community. Whether on the field Sunday or leading guys on runs at 6 a.m. or coming here to give the kids some pointers and some love. It fires me up.”

Leads by example

It’s not just a combine. Crosby is involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He reads to schoolchildren and dedicates his time to 600 youth on Global Impact Day. He supports and does PSAs for the “It’s A Penalty” campaign, raising awareness about resources available to prevent human trafficking. And much, much more.

He wants more than anything to build a legacy on the field, to become one of the all-time greats, to one day be fitted for a gold jacket. But none of it has stopped him from guiding and helping others off it.

“He leads by example with everything,” Raiders safety Isaiah Pola-Mao said. “What he puts his body through, all the work he does. He’s trying to pave the way for younger players like myself, teaching us what it’s like to be a pro. He does it at the highest level. Something to emulate. Something to strive to be like.

“He doesn’t (give back) for the pictures or the cameras. He does all that stuff because it’s genuine.”

Period. The end.

Ed Graney, a Sigma Delta Chi Award winner for sports column writing, can be reached at egraney@reviewjournal.com. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on X.

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