With four NFL seasons behind him, Raiders edge rusher Maxx Crosby has established himself as one of the premier pass rushers in the game, logging 12.5 sacks last season and an NFL-best 22 tackles for losses.
Now, apparently, he is also doling out ‘Welcome to the NFL’ moments, and he no doubt gave one to rookie tight end Michael Mayer this week. In a viral video that has garnered around 4 million views on social media, Crosby can be heard saying, “Hey, watch this,” to linebacker Amari Burney ahead of a snap at a Raiders practice, as he lines up opposite Mayer.
Once the play starts, Crosby pushes Mayer backwards and keeps pushing him another eight or 10 years until Mayer finally falls over backward. It’s a show of Crosby’s strength, technique and, of course, willingness to mess with rookies when needed.
The video, credited to @CondorSZN on Twitter (X), is both impressive and hilarious (and maybe a bit scary for Raiders fans):
Mayer Has Latched onto Maxx Crosby
Now, before we get too concerned about Mayer’s feelings and whether Crosby was engaging in some unfair bullying, it should be noted that Crosby and Mayer have becomes good friends, with Crosby taking Mayer, the Raiders’ second-round pick (No. 35 overall) under his wing. Mayer is currently listed as the backup tight end behind Austin Hooper on the Raiders depth chart, though he could wind up with the starting job.
But Mayer said that Crosby sent him a direct message after he was picked in the draft, and told him, “Congratulations, man. Let’s go!”
Since then, Mayer has latched onto Crosby throughout training camp.
“He’s the biggest routine guy that I’ve ever met in my entire life, and I think that sets the example for me and the entire rookie class and honestly the entire team,” Mayer said, per SI.com. “That dude, he’s eating healthy every single day. I know I get in here early, he’s in here early with me every single day. He’s in here late with me every single day. Like, that’s somebody that you really want to follow, you want to be behind when he’s leading because you know he’s going to lead the right way and do the right things.
So, it’s somebody that I’ve really tried to look upon what he’s doing on his everyday routine schedule and try to mimic, does this work for me? Does that work for me? But he’s been great since the first day I got here.”
Mayer Blocking Worries are Real
Mayer was the third tight end drafted after Dalton Kincaid of the Bills and Sam LaPorta of the Lions. He was an All-American for the Fighting Irish last season, racking up 67 catches and 809 receiving yards. One of his weaknesses, though, was considered his blocking. As Bleacher Report noted ahead of the 2023 draft, “Somewhat underwhelming blocker for his size; more functional than good.”
Mayer struggled at times with injuries in training camp, and that’s the primary reason he has not seized the job from Hooper, who is not nearly as dynamic in the passing game but is a much more sound blocker than Mayer. In fact, Mayer’s blocking has been an issue all through the preseason, during which he caught three passes for 23 yards.
According to Pro Football Focus’ advanced stats, Mayer received a grade of 49.2 in pass blocking in two preseason appearances. It’s a small sample size, but it does fit the narrative around Mayer heading into the draft.
And the Crosby video won’t help Mayer in that regard, at least not his reputation.
Sean Deveney is a veteran sports reporter covering the NBA and NFL for Heavy.com. He has written for Heavy since 2019 and has more than two decades of experience covering the NBA, including 17 years as the lead NBA reporter for the Sporting News. Deveney is the author of 7 nonfiction books, including “Fun City,” “Before Wrigley became Wrigley,” and “Facing Michael Jordan.” More about Sean Deveney
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