by Chuck Licata, TexasHSFootball.com Managing Editor
Mason Crosby is both the kicker for the Green Bay Packers of the NFL as well as a proud resident of Georgetown where he played for the hometown Eagles.
Crosby, who entered the NFL in 2007 after great careers at Georgetown HS and the University of Colorado, just signed a new four-year $16.1 million contract with the Packers according to an NFL.com report. The deal also includes a $5 million dollar signing bonus. He’s made 80 percent of his field goal tries in nine years with Green Bay (236 of 296); he’s converted on all but just four of his career PATs (437 of 441, a dazzling 99.1 percent); and, after kicking his fourth field goal of the game Sept. 20, 2015 in a game against Seattle, Crosby passed Ryan Longwell as the team’s all-time leading scorer.
Crosby has also converted 20 consecutive post season field goals, the current and NFL-record mark.
TexasHSFootball.com Managing Editor Chuck Licata visited with Green Bay Packers’ kicker Mason Crosby this past Tuesday. Crosby, who grew up in Georgetown and played soccer and football for Georgetown High School, was in town to help promote his mother Karen’s community outreach effort, “The Locker.” Licata covered Mason for the local media during Crosby’s high school days. Below is an excerpt from that interview.
TXHSFB: As you may be aware, former NFL player Brian DeMarco, his wife Autumn and their staff have taken over the operations of TexasHSFootball.com. Among their goals and visions is to tie the site into the great game of football and tie in current and former players with Texas roots –both at the college and NFL levels – into both the site and the great communities of Texas.
Mason Crosby: Everyone with ties into Texas high school football loves their roots. Growing up in Georgetown, it was a smaller community. It seems you looked at everyone around you and everyone is invested in each other. What I did, what the guy next to me did reverberated throughout the community.
Even as a young kid as a high school student, I had a chance to give back to my community. Having great parents was a blessing and they were helpful in raising me the right way. They showed me there are people with all kinds of needs out there. Helping people involved giving people a helpful hand as well as sharing in their journey. People need help but you can also share in their journey. It’s not just about finding someone who needs help, it’s also coming along side other people to (work with to) make your community better.
Growing up in Georgetown has helped me a lot in (realizing) that. I feel like I’ve carried that in my journey to Green Bay. I’m really vested in things up there.
I feel I have a responsibility to make significant change and give back where I can – be it with my time, volunteering, or giving back with resources. For me it all makes a difference and I feel very honored (to have that opportunity). I feel like I have a responsibility to do that every chance I get.
TXHSFB: You were one of only five NFL kickers who were perfect on extra-point attempts this season (Crosby was 36-for36 in PATs). This was the first in which the ball was placed at the 15-yard line. What were your thoughts on the NFL’s change to the extra-point kick change, where the kick was moved back to where kickers were essentially attempting a 33-yard field goal?
Mason Crosby: Honestly, I looked at it as just another kick. I just went out there as if I was attempting another 33-yard field goal. When I take the field (with a kick attempt) inside 40-45 yards, I’m expected to make the kick. I tried to hit an extra-point kick with the same flow as any other field goal. It’s difficult to make any field goal in the NFL, especially with the weather in a December game in Green Bay!
I did see a trend where some guys were missing extra points early in the season; that started feeding into their field goal production. There was a lot of change in kicking positions amongst teams. Early in the season there was a lot of change. Usually you see 2-3 in kicking positions due to injury or other things, but it seemed like there were 5-6 this year.
The kicking position in my nine years has increased in percentage and accuracy. When I first got into the game, (kicking at an) 80-82 percent (rate) was a pretty solid year. Now, if you’re not above 85 percent you’re just middle of the pack. You have to be pushing 90-95 percent to be leading the league.
TXHSFB: You were a free agent kicker all season, knowing you might test free agency after the season ended. Yet, you weren’t even an official free agent when you and the team reached terms on a new 4-year agreement.
Mason Crosby: First off, I was thrilled how it ended up working out. It really wasn’t an option to go with someone else. I’m happy to be back with the organization I care so much for and for the community I love so much.
When we didn’t have any talks throughout the season, things kind of got a little heated after the season ended. We started going back and forth little bit more but I came to the realization I did have to prepare myself in case I got to free agency.
When the Packers called on the same day as deadline franchise tagging, they said they really want to get something done before this deadline passes. Ultimately that gave me confidence they didn’t want to let me go. Those things were very good and we were able to work things out quickly; we were able to come to terms.
That mutual respect I’ve had with the Packers over these nine years (showed that) obviously the relationships I’ve developed in that time helped to get it done quickly, and in a good way. And I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity.