HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — Maxx Crosby’s nickname is “Mad Maxx,” an apt description given his play since the defensive end was selected by the Raiders in the fourth round of the 2019 draft.
His 25 sacks and 57 quarterback hits are both tied for 17th in the NFL since he entered the league.
If there is one word no one would dare associate with the sturdy 6-foot-5 edge rusher, it’s soft.
Well, almost no one.
Fiancée Rachel Washburn is expecting their baby girl on Oct. 3, and the “girl dad” in one of the NFL’s most feared pass rushers started glowing long before Nike began sending newborn outfits that Crosby has been proudly texting to friends.
“I would say ‘soft’ is a perfect word, especially with having a baby girl; it like pulls (on) their heartstrings even more,” Washburn said. “But it’s like the cutest thing ever watching him be so excited to be a father.”
The 25-year-old Crosby recently displayed his excitement at the Las Vegas facility while talking about what may be the most important day of his life, just one month away.
During training camp, Crosby received frequent updates and videos from Washburn via text that kept him balanced and encouraged.
“I’m just super excited,” Crosby said. “Seeing a baby kick around in her stomach is like the craziest thing. But it’s incredible, it just gives me an extra bit of motivation having a daughter on the way. We’ve been talking about it for so long and finally, it’s about to really happen. I can’t wait until she gets here. We’re going to have a blast, it’s going to be great.”
Washburn’s due date is one day after the Raiders host quarterback Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos.
So what if Washburn goes into labor one day sooner, or any given Sunday, for that matter?
“I’ve already talked to (coach Josh McDaniels) as far as planning for that,” Crosby said. “We have an emergency team who is going to call me there if she goes into labor and everything like that. We’re already ahead of the curve, I feel like it’s just going to happen the way it’s supposed to happen. I’m not stressing about it.”
Nor should he, not after all he has endured. And overcome.
In 2019, after his rookie season, Crosby checked himself into rehab for alcoholism. He was in search of clarity and needed help in getting clean, so he could refocus his efforts on the field. After a ho-hum second season, Crosby turned in a banner third year for the Raiders, establishing career highs of 56 tackles and 30 quarterback hits.
“After rehab, I think something just clicked in his head,” Washburn said. “I mean, he’s always loved football and always been passionate, but something clicked and then he changed his regimen and he gets up at the same time, does literally every single thing at the same time every single day.”
It’s the type of regimen that has transformed Crosby from a fourth-round hopeful into a key leader for Las Vegas.
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“The energy he brings every single day, and leadership he’s been bringing, it’s unmatched. I love playing with him, it makes my job easier,” Raiders defensive tackle Kendal Vickers said.
It’s something McDaniels appreciates as the coach heads into his first year with Las Vegas.
“He does everything every day that you could ask a player to do to help himself get better and help our team get better. There’s no greater compliment that I could give him than that,” McDaniels said. “He brings a lot of his teammates with him. He sets the standard for our work ethic, the way we practice, how we go about our jobs, how he is in the meetings. Everything that you would want from a player that’s trying to ascend, he’s doing it.”
It’s the same type of vibe Washburn knows he’ll bring to parenthood for their daughter, along with matching Nike Air Force 1s, his favorite shoe.
Just don’t call him soft on the field.