THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – For the better part of his 16-year NFL career, kicker Mason Crosby has been used to kicking in chilly temperatures at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
This week, he traded that for 70 degrees and sunny in Los Angeles for the next opportunity of his career: Signing to the Rams' practice squad.
"It was great," Crosby said Wednesday. "Yeah, when they gave me the call there on Tuesday, I was excited to come out and have a chance to come play for this team. You know, it's weird being in Green Bay as long as I have, and just have obviously some amazing fond memories of that place. But yeah, getting all the new gear and new helmet and all those things, it felt like kind of being a rookie again. Yeah, it feels good. I love the guys that are in this building, and it's been fun so far today."
Crosby said he was kicking three times per week to stay ready as he awaited his next opportunity and also had workouts with other teams, but "it was just the fits and situations didn't work out quite right." He came out to work out for the Rams a little over a month ago, but the timing wasn't right.
"And I think, obviously, with where this team is and trying to build and do something special here down the stretch, it feels like a good opportunity to continue to chase this dream," Crosby said. "It's every kid's dream to play professional. I've been fortunate enough to play for a long time, but I don't take it for granted. I love every opportunity I have."
Rams head coach Sean McVay, when asked if Crosby could be elevated from the practice squad as soon as this week, said "there's a possibility of that."
"It's kind of a unique opportunity where you still end up having (kicker) Lucas (Havrisik), feel like he's a guy that we want to be able to continue to work with," McVay said. "But to have a veteran that has his experience, some of the success, some of the crunch time moments that he's had and the unique opportunity to be able to bring somebody in on the practice squad and potentially flex them up. Those are things that we felt like we wanted to be able to explore when you have 16 spots on the practice squad and so that's what we're doing."
Asked if he ever thought he'd be kicking for a team other than the Packers, Crosby said he had a "dream career" in Green Bay, grateful for being able to be with one team for 16 years. At the same time, advice from other kickers who were once in his shoes proved influential in the decision to keep his career going – even if it was with another franchise.
"As I continued to think about what I was going to do and all that, I just wanted to get in a good fit, a place where there's a little nicer weather," Crosby said. "I've just talked to other guys that were kind of towards the end of the career, if you can stack a few more years or a few more games, you might as well keep chasing it. So I'm very grateful that the Rams are giving me this opportunity, and I say that a lot, I think that's where my heart is. It's just a heart of gratefulness that I get to play this great game."