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Gordon: Family, fatherhood, football motivate Maxx Crosby

Her name is Ella Rose Crosby, and her father, Maxx, already thinks about her every single day.

Wait until she arrives in October.

He certainly can’t.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am. I know my family is. My mom calls me every day, asking ‘What do you need?’” the Raiders defensive end said Thursday after organized team activities at the team’s headquarters in Henderson. “It’s super exciting. It’s nothing but a blessing. Definitely looking forward to having her here.”

Crosby, 24, is already a Pro Bowler and All-Pro, honors befit for his play in 2021. He’ll add two more distinctions in 2022: husband and father amid his engagement to longtime girlfriend Rachel Washburn, with whom he announced her pregnancy last month.

He says his burgeoning family gives him additional motivation. Not that he needed it after registering a 91.7 grade per Pro Football Focus in 2021, ranking second to Myles Garrett among edge defenders.

Imagine, though, what that additional motivation could help him accomplish this season.

“I try not to think too far in the future or too far in the past. Every single day there’s something new I’ve got on my plate,” Crosby said. “Just trying to maximize my 24 hours to try to improve. Regardless if it’s off the field, in the house, with my dogs or my child. I’m trying to do my best.”

Football

Seems to be the right approach for Crosby, a former fourth-round draft pick from Coffeyville, Texas. His passion has been palpable since the Raiders summoned him to their squad in 2019 from Eastern Michigan.

And now, too, is his maturity.

He was always a disrupter, evidenced by the 10 sacks he registered in his rookie season. It’s his refinement that helped him maximize his impact as a pass and run defender — and secure a four-year, $94 million contract in March that solidifies his standing as a Raiders captain and one of the NFL’s best players.

“Obviously, it’s amazing. It’s a big blessing,” Crosby said. “Takes a lot of stress off not only myself but my family and a lot of people around me. At the end of the day, I have a job to do and a responsibility to not only the fan base but to the organization to be the best player I can possibly be and help us get to where we want to go.

“I just try to be the best player and role model I can be.”

Perhaps he’ll be even better working under new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham and playing opposite perennial Pro Bowl edge rusher Chandler Jones. He lauds Graham’s intelligence and seems eager to play in his schemes.

He touts Jones’ leadership, noting that they’ve already begun to forge a meaningful relationship.

“The cool thing about Chandler is he’s one of the most humble dudes I’ve met,” Crosby said. “We talk about the most random things ever. We sit in the locker room before meetings start. At like 6:30 in the morning. Conversations go every way.”

And family

Perhaps they’ll veer this fall toward fatherhood and family. They represent what matters most to Crosby, along with football, of course.

He’s a “little bit involved in” in the wedding planning, explaining through a chorus of laughter that Washburn recently sent him 30 or so pictures of a prospective venue. He shares his two cents and has a couple of specific requests, but the rest will be left to her, and that’s fine by him.

“We’re going to make it happen,” he said with a smile. “It’ll be fun.”

Rest assured, his pit bulls — Brooklyn, Leo and Durk — also will be involved in the wedding, he says.

“Get some three-piece suits on them.”

Football, fatherhood and family. Doesn’t get any better than that.

Contact Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.

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