Detroit selected Crosby in the fifth round of the 2018 draft, and he started seven games over his first two years in the league before becoming the club’s primary right tackle in 2020. Although he struggled as a run blocker that year, he earned an above-average 68.1 grade from Pro Football Focus for his efforts in pass protection, and his overall score of 64.2 was solid enough. In 2021, the final year of his rookie contract, it seemed Crosby would be in line for at least a swing tackle role, but he was off the roster before the regular season got underway.
The Oregon product skipped voluntary workouts last spring — he says that he only did so because he was homesick and wanted to remain with his family after the pandemic kept him away during the 2020 season — and when mandatory minicamp rolled around, then-OC Anthony Lynn suggested that he had missed OTAs because he was “scared to compete.” Crosby added that head coach Dan Campbell and GM Brad Holmes spoke with him privately and accused him of not caring about his teammates, the coaching staff or the city of Detroit.
In the second week of training camp, Crosby sustained a mild hamstring injury that knocked him out for most of the preseason. During his rehab, he says that he complained of back pain to trainers and coaches, only to have those complaints dismissed. In late August, he returned to practice on a limited basis, but he suffered from unrelenting back spasms. He missed his weight room workout on his first day back at practice and was fined $5K as a result, even though he only missed the workout because he was getting treatment for his back.
Several days later, he complained about the back pain again, and assistant trainer Tom Colt asked if he could play a few snaps in that week’s preseason finale against the Colts. Crosby said he could, and he struggled through nine snaps in that contest. He was waived with an injury designation several days later, and at that time, Holmes sarcastically thanked him for playing through the injury.
Crosby subsequently cleared waivers and reverted to injured reserve after declining the Lions’ offer of a four-week injury settlement. Over the next few months, Crosby saw several doctors and attempted rehab with no success. That process also included a complication from a cortisone shot that caused a leak of spinal fluid and led to debilitating headaches. Detroit allegedly continued to downplay Crosby’s concerns, and after a spine specialist discovered that the discs in Crosby’s lower back had degenerated to the point that his back was collapsing on the left side, he underwent the fusion surgery.
That is not necessarily a career-ending procedure, though Crosby says he has struggled to get into playing shape. He has not lifted weights seriously in almost a year, and while he can do certain abdominal and body-weight workouts, it sounds as if he is a long way away from getting back on the field, if he is ever able to do so.
The Lions have declined to comment on Crosby’s accusations.