Jon Gruden Nearly Cut Raiders Star Player Before Breakout

jon gruden

Getty Former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.

Defensive end Maxx Crosby is starting to cement himself as one of the best defensive players in the NFL. However, his rise was almost not with the Las Vegas Raiders.

Crosby came into the league as a fourth-round pick of the team in 2019. Nobody knew he quickly developed into an All-Pro player, including former head coach Jon Gruden. According to Crosby, the coach almost wanted to cut him during training camp for his rookie season.

“He literally threatened to cut me on the middle of the field my first training camp,” Crosby said during the February 9 episode of “Pardon My Take.” “…It was like the second week of training camp, I swat a ball down and I’m f***in’ hype, celebrating, and he’s looking at me all irritated. Then it happens again — boom swat a ball down. And it happens at the end of practice for the third time. He’s like, ‘Stop swatting the f***in’ ball down. I’ll f***in’ cut your a**, I swear to God.”

Luckily for the Raiders, Crosby listened to the coach and didn’t get cut. He’s now a two-time All-Pro and on a $94 million contract so moving on from him as a rookie would’ve been a disaster for Las Vegas.

Maxx Crosby Finishes Last in DPOY Race

Maxx Crosby had a career year in 2023. He finished with a career-high 14.5 sacks while being tied for the NFL lead with 23 tackles for loss. For his efforts, he was one of the finalists for the Defensive Player of the Year award.

However, he ended up finishing in fourth place and didn’t get a single first-place vote.

Crosby had a strong case for winning the award outright. Micah Parsons, Myles Garrett and T.J. Watt all play on defenses that have far more talent. Crosby is easily the Raiders’ best defensive player and finished with statistics than Garrett, who won the award.

Maxx Crosby Won’t Miss Games Due to Injury

What made Maxx Crosby’s 2023 season even more impressive is that he was injured for much of it. He dealt with a bursa injury in his knee and also underwent hand surgery this offseason. He was dealing with those injuries throughout the season but still produced.

He has no intention of missing time unless he physically can’t move.

“For me, if I got a heartbeat, and I could run somewhat, I’m gonna play,” Crosby told Heavy Sports in a February 6 interview. “That’s my mindset. … I’ve had five surgeries in five years, and I’ve never missed a game. So I mean, it speaks for itself. And for me, it’s not like going out there and being a shell of myself. People were telling me to shut the season down after the Chiefs game when I just went out there and played. I heard everything. We went to the bye week and I’m like, ‘watch what I do when I come back.’ And I went out there versus the Vikings and destroyed. I’m just being honest. I’m like, ‘I’m not done. I know I can still play.’”

There is always a worry that Crosby will push himself too hard but he works as hard as any player in the NFL and does what he can to keep his body right.

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