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Maxx Crosby talks about his commitment to the game and refining his craft on The Pat McAfee Show

Maxx Crosby, the linebacker?

It might've been, if the Raiders star hadn't grown a few more inches.

"I was a late bloomer. I didn't grow until like my senior year," Crosby said. "My junior/senior year, I grew like four inches. I was a middle linebacker my whole career and I was a short, stockier, chubby dude. Then all of a sudden, I got way taller and I was like, 'Obviously, I can't play middle linebacker at 6-4, 6-5.' They moved me down to the D-line, and I played a little bit of tight end."

As the NFL Combine continues this week, Crosby reflected on his own college experiences during an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday and how it fueled him on his way to the pros.

"Eastern [Michigan] was the only school to offer me. They offered me right before my senior year, before I ever played a down at D-end. That was my only offer and I took it. Obviously, I've got family and everything back in Michigan so I felt like it was the perfect fit. At the end of the day, I just wanted to play D-I. They gave me that opportunity."

Now having just finished up his third season in the Silver and Black, the Pro Bowl defensive end has proven himself as a dominant force on the line, as well as a leader in his first year named a team captain. He credits his success to a change in mentality and becoming sober on his way to wanting to put his best on the field.

"After my second year, I was far from happy with where I was," he said. "I felt like I was doing well and doing some good things, but I knew I wasn't the complete player I know I could be. Going into that offseason, I had to get surgery – get my shoulder fixed, my hand fixed.

"I just fully committed from meal prep to extra work to being the first in the building in the Raiders facility from the start of the offseason all the way to the end of the year. ... I feel like nobody outworked me and that's kind of my new formula."

But Crosby is just getting started.

He's gotten to know many of the stalwarts in the pass-rush game, including Aaron Donald, Chandler Jones and Von Miller, picking their brains for anything he can learn to take his game to the next level.

At his first Pro Bowl this past year, he got the chance to be around the league's elite talent, even getting to know the NFL's 2021 Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt – a player he hopes to emulate and an award he hopes to win himself in the future.

"I've got a responsibility to the whole fan base. I feel like I'm just getting started of where I can be," Crosby said. "I want to be a Hall of Famer. I want to be one of the guys that you look back and you think about all-time Raider greats, I want to be one of those guys.

"It's a responsibility for me to show up every day and be the first guy in the building and continue to get better."

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