GREEN BAY – Free agency is only a week away, but Mason Crosby wasn’t tempted.
The Packers’ veteran kicker said the goal was to get a new contract with Green Bay worked out before free agency, and he couldn’t be happier it was accomplished.
“What better place to be than in Green Bay where I’ve started building a legacy these nine years and I’ve established myself here,” Crosby told a group of reporters at his locker on Wednesday, shortly after signing his new four-year deal. “I couldn’t really imagine playing anywhere else.”
Crosby’s legacy includes becoming the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, making the seven longest field goals in team history, and holding the NFL postseason record for consecutive made field goals with 20.
It also includes bouncing back from a horrific slump in 2012 to put together the best three-year stretch of his career from 2013-15, during which he’s made 86 percent of his field goals (84 of 98), and his only two missed extra points have been blocked.
The Packers made him re-earn his job back in 2013, but they stuck by Crosby during the rough patch and that “mutual respect” has meant a lot in the relationship between the team and its longtime kicker.
“There’s been some really awesome moments, but those tough moments are what kind of helped me to really polish what kind of kicker I’m going to be,” he said. “These last few years are what I expect out of myself and what I expect to be. The adversity, those moments where it didn’t always look so pretty, those moments are things I draw from.”
Crosby has been one of the elite kickers in the league over the past three years, and now he’s getting paid amongst them. He doesn’t view reaching that status as the peak of satisfaction, though.
“With that comes the responsibility and motivation that I want to keep working hard and do something better next year than I’ve done in the past,” he said. “That’s the mindset I’m taking forward. It’s exciting.”
Given what he’s accomplished, Crosby easily could have found a warm-weather climate or a dome for the latter stages of his career and done away with the cold, wind and other difficulties that come with kicking at Lambeau Field.
But Crosby said he actually enjoys and embraces the challenge here. More important, he simply wasn’t interested in starting over with a new team.
“I look at my teammates, I look at the guys I’ve been able to play with, the guys in this locker room, we have a chance to do some great things, and we’ve done great things together,” he said.
“We’re looking to make runs deep in the playoffs and try to win Super Bowls, and I think I’m just kind of a piece of that puzzle.”