Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby has been a breakout star for the team since being selected in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. His rookie season was exceptional, racking up 10 sacks, four forced fumbles and a combined 47 tackles on the year.
His numbers declined across the board in 2020, which was attributed to a combination of different causes. The biggest one was the struggles of the entire defense, as the Raiders ended the season as one of the worst defensive teams in football. The second was a natural regression after a potentially overachieving rookie season.
However, perhaps the major cause was injury, as Crosby revealed on Twitter that he played through a majority of the season with a torn labrum and a broken metal plate in his hand:
16 games. 16 starts. 180+ Labrum tear & broken metal plate in my hand. Couldn’t be done without the support of my teammates & the @Raiders. Love y’all 🖤🖤🖤 I’ll be back in 4 months 😏☠️ pic.twitter.com/uty5B98eVT
— MaddMaxx (@CrosbyMaxx) January 28, 2021
No one can deny Crosby’s toughness after playing with two injuries that required surgery of some kind. He also was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list before the start of the season due to a battle with coronavirus.
Despite all of this, Crosby somehow managed to play in all 16 games. Not only that, he led the Raiders in sacks (7.0), quarterback hits (13) and tackles for loss (14). He was quite literally the best player on the Raiders defense while playing at far less than 100% health.
Perhaps this can bring some hope to Raiders fans who are concerned about the state of the team’s defense in 2021. Some improvements in the secondary and the natural progression of some young players — as well as a fully healthy Crosby — should lead to some positive steps in the next season.
Crosby prides himself on playing all 16 games
It’s fair to wonder why Crosby would play in all 16 games when he has so many major injuries. However, he said that he prided himself on playing in every game no matter what.
In football, a player’s best ability is his availability, and Crosby proved that this year by being productive on the field despite needing serious surgery and rehab work in the offseason.