July 16, 2021 – “For me, that’s just like a little reminder … Without my sobriety, I wouldn’t be here right now.”

Crosby, selected in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL draft out of Eastern Michigan, poured all his energy into producing a solid rookie campaign. He finished the season with 10 sacks.

Then, the season ended. The downtime came. Parties ensued. Drinking persisted. Crosby said he woke one day and realized he could no longer stumble through life. If he was going to pursue his dream of becoming a Pro Bowl-caliber defensive end and be a leader on the team, the drinking had to stop.

He sought help. “I have one chance to be in the NFL,” Crosby said. “I have one chance of living a life. You never know when your last day on earth is going to be. So for me, it got to a point where it was like, almost scary for me because I just didn’t feel good.

“And I knew I wasn’t going in the right direction, so I needed help. It was the best thing I ever did.”

The Raiders have been known to give second chances to those who have suffered to find balance between NFL pressures and personal strife. As general manager Mike Mayock said when signing offensive guard Richie Incognito in 2019, “You can’t have all Boy Scouts.”

Tight end Darren Waller was always forthcoming about overcoming heavy drug use. As Crosby’s close friend, he also helped him to forge a path to recovery.