Q&A: As milestones pile up, Crosby stays focused
The newest member of the NFL's 1,000-point club doesn't mind talking about his accomplishments.
It's good for Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby to take a step back, appreciate what he's done in his eight seasons playing professional football. With four field goals in last week's win against the New England Patriots, Crosby became one of 54 players in NFL history to score 1,000 career points.
Crosby also crossed the 100-point mark for his eighth straight season, tying former Packers kicker Ryan Longwell's franchise record.
From here, the veteran will only continue to climb the career ladder. For a kicker who doesn't turn 31 until the start of next season, it seems almost any statistical benchmark is within reach.
Crosby isn't looking that far ahead. Right now, he said, it's important to finish this season. Take things in small increments, never focusing on the big picture. It's how he's been successful for almost a decade in the NFL.
In this week's Q&A with Press-Gazette Media, Crosby talks about his career milestones, what it means to succeed as a kicker in Green Bay, and how he'd like his future to play out.
You just reached two milestones that are pretty significant marks for a kicker. What does 1,000 career points and eight seasons with at least 100 career points mean to you?
"My first thought always goes to the fact I've had great offenses that I've been a part of. That ability we have to score and get into scoring position is awesome. So we've got to give credit to the teammates there. It's awesome. I feel so fortunate that I've been able to play eight years here with the Packers. I've been on some great teams."
Ryan Longwell is a kicker that meant a lot to this franchise for a long time. To tie him for 100-point seasons, how what do you think of that accomplishment?
"Well, obviously I have a ton of respect for him. Longwell kind of set that standard of what it was to kick here in Green Bay, kick here and have some longevity. His numbers are obviously outstanding. So he kind of set that benchmark. Whenever I came in, that's what I looked at and made sure I knew that I've got to work hard, and make sure I do my best to go out every day and score points for this team. As far as that goes, such a great player, great guy, and I've been fortunate enough to get to know him over my time here as well."
You had a great college career, and everyone knew you were capable of doing some great things when you entered the league. Early in your career, did you see yourself reaching these kind of benchmarks?
"Obviously, as a football player, as a competitor, you always look at, what is that mark? You look at the guys that have kind of set the way, set that mark out there. That is a goal. That is something where, yes, I wanted to play as long as I can. I want to continue to have success, and I want to surpass some of that and keep moving forward. Like I said, I've been fortunate to be part of some awesome, really good offenses that have put me in positions to score points. I never take it for granted. Just look at it as, 'OK, if I got to this point, I want to continue that and be better.' That's where my mindset is now, and I think these last few years that's been a very positive mindset for me. Always make sure I improve and get better and reach all the goals that I want to reach."
When you came into the league, you could've been in Atlanta or St. Louis. You could've been in a dome environment, a friendly environment for a kicker. You didn't know where you'd be drafted. Do these milestones have any more significance because they've come outdoors in Green Bay?
"Yes, with the difficulty of kicking here in Green Bay, but also just Green Bay, the Packers organization itself. Being a part of that, all the legendary players and kind of the tradition that is Green Bay. To be a part of that is something special. It's something that I obviously happy about, and I'm proud of it. Now that I have kids, it's a little strange to think down the line we can look back and talk about when I played for the Green Bay Packers. Some of the accomplishments, and the teams I was able to play for, those are the things I'm holding onto."
What things have you learned about what it takes to be a successful kicker inside a challenging venue like Lambeau Field?
"I think it's just kind of simplifying it, making sure that I don't overdo things. Don't overthink things, don't overswing out at Lambeau. Make sure that when it gets cold, when conditions are tough, I rely more on my fundamentals and my training and all the stuff I've done kind of in the time away from the games. In the practice, and those sorts of things. As long as I dive into that and really stay true to that, I can go out in Lambeau — I can go out in any conditions — and hit the ball the way I want to. So I think playing here on a regular basis, and this being my home field, then going to other stadiums and other places, I've done well outside of Lambeau as well. So I think that's a positive I've drawn from here, is just, 'All right, you've gotta come in, take care of the home turf, and then go be solid and consistent on away games as well.' I enjoy the challenge all the time. That's kind of my thing, is, 'What's it going to be like in there?' I'm always constantly learning. So I might go out, and footing might be different one day. I've kicked in any possible condition here at Lambeau, but at the same time it's never exactly the same. You always have to learn and adapt and go out and trust.
Have you thought about what kind of personal goals you'd like to reach in the future?
"You know, my biggest thing right now is kind of finishing off this season. I'm kind of living right now and every moment. I've done a better job of that as well over the last few years, is just taking care of what I'm doing right now. I look at this now, we're in December, four games in the regular season left. We really just need to take care of this next one. I think that's been a mindset that's really paid off for me, is to live in this moment, make sure I take care of that and enjoy it. Enjoy this team, enjoy this process, enjoy the people I get to be around every day. Because it is fleeting in a sense. At some point, hopefully a long way down the road, I won't be able to do this anymore. I've got to enjoy every second of it."
— email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood