Maxx Crosby likes to be uncomfortable.
It's what helps drive the fifth-year vet on his journey to be the best version of himself on and off the field.
"Every single year, I try to find that 1 percent I can improve in in every single category. ... There's always room for improvement," he said. "There's always more to do. How can I eat better? How can I sleep better? How can I recover better? How can I train better?"
Gearing up for the 2023 season didn't begin for Crosby on Wednesday at the first Training Camp practice, nor back in May when OTAs got underway. It began 177 days ago on January 30 when he started his own offseason training to attack that 1 percent improvement.
"Once you feel good, you find another level to tap into then you keep finding another level," Crosby added. "For me, it's always pushing and being uncomfortable."
A lot has changed since Crosby first walked into Raiders Headquarters in Oakland five years ago. With 37.5 career sacks, 231 tackles, a league-leading 22 tackles for loss last season and two Pro Bowl nods, Madd Maxx has became a standout – recently ranked as the 19th best active player in the league by Pro Football Focus.
But Crosby isn't – and won't be – satisfied.
The 25-year-old attributes his growth not only to the help of his coaches and the full Silver and Black strength and conditioning staff in improving his training and technique, but also to a change in his mindset. As someone who looks up to athletic greats like Kobe Bryant and Muhammad Ali, Crosby uses their careers as inspiration for what he wants his own to look like.
"When I was a rookie, a second-year guy, in my head I was always seeing the future and how I think I could be as a player and what I can do, but my actions weren't fully aligned with that. You can think about it, you can talk about it, you can do it sometimes, but if you're really trying to do it at the highest level, you've got to do it every single day. It's got to be a way of life."
These are the lessons Crosby hopes to impart on the newest crop of rookie defensive linemen that joined the Silver and Black this year – David Agoha, Adam Plant Jr., Nesta Jade Silvera, George Tarlas, Tyree Wilson and Byron Young – as he continues to take on a leadership role in the defense.
"Sometimes people put numbers on things and you're putting a ceiling on yourself. I don't ever put a number on my sack total or pressures or whatever," Crosby said.
I just try to improve literally one day at a time. Two years ago, I didn't know I was going to get 100 pressures. I could've said, 'All right, I'm going to get 70,' and then you end up with 100. Then you're like, 'I'm setting my bar too low.'
"For me, I know where I want to be, and I know where I'm going. I'm never going to put a ceiling on myself. I don't want any of the guys in the room to do that either."
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View the best photos from the first day of Raiders 2023 Training Camp practice at Intermountain Health Performance Center.