GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Mason Crosby won his competition to remain the Green Bay Packers’ kicker.
His wife beat a more formidable challenger.
Molly Crosby, a 32-year-old mother of five, had been dealing with bouts of coughing and congestion all summer. Some preliminary exams in Green Bay showed a spot on her right lung. That led the Crosbys to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., for additional tests. A carcinoid endocrine tumor was found. The tumor isn’t as dangerous as other forms of cancer but was disconcerting for an otherwise healthy, nonsmoker.
“We found out the day before we reported to camp,” Crosby said on Wednesday. “We were at Mayo the two or three days leading up to training camp, when they did all their scans and got the final prognosis.”
Crosby flew back to Green Bay for the start of training camp. After a subpar 2018 season, Crosby had to beat out Sam Ficken.
Crosby managed to keep his focus and retained the job for a 13th season.
“I’ve trained a long time in compartmentalizing different situations,” Crosby said. “Whenever I was home, I was fully home. The organization was unbelievable through training camp, just giving me time to be with Molly and be with the family and help where I could throughout the day and evening. I just tried to be fully in on both things. I have felt a lot of freedom in this.
“I love doing what I’m doing but the importance of taking care of family and being there for Molly and the kids, when I look back on it, it was a special camp. I was able to really fully immerse in both things. It was nerve-wracking, too. Day in and day out, it was coming in, having to work and compete at a high level, and then going home and flowing back into a normal routine. Then, we’d sit down at night and you’d remember that surgery was coming and Molly had cancer. Those things were heavy.”
That surgery was at the end of the preseason, with part of Molly’s right lung removed. While she will go back to Mayo for a scan in mid-October, Crosby said the doctors are positive they got rid of the tumor and she will not require radiation or chemotherapy.
Since 2009, the NFL has held its annual “Crucial Catch” campaign to raise money for the American Cancer Society. It was a campaign that had already hit home for Crosby. A grandmother died of breast cancer and a sister-in-law is in her third year battling ovarian cancer. Now with his wife’s diagnosis, the fight against cancer has grown more meaningful.
“That’s what it’s about is early detection,” he said. “It’s getting routine checkups. Don’t take it for granted. The numbers, with our technology, are amazing with prevention but treating it if you catch it early enough. That’s one of the big things is pushing that. Let’s try to get earlier detection so we can fight this thing.
“With Molly’s cancer, it’s always been really important to me but I’m going to continue to push the charge forward and make sure that everybody gets the care. We feel so fortunate with the care that we got. Hopefully, everybody gets the same care and the same prognosis that we got.”
The Packers (3-1) will play at the Dallas Cowboys (3-1) on Sunday. Some of Crosby’s finest professional moments have happened at AT&T Stadium. In the 2010 season, the Packers won the Super Bowl in Arlington. A playoff game in the 2016 season against the Cowboys marked the highlight of his career. His 56-yard field goal with 1:33 to play gave the Packers a 31-28 lead. Dallas tied the score, but Crosby booted a 51-yarder on the final play for a 34-31 victory.
“The two minutes in that game were the most exciting two minutes I think I’ve ever had in a game,” he said. “To be able to execute it twice in that situation was awesome.”