Packers kicker Mason Crosby gets game ball after family death

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Mason Crosby had more to deal with Sunday than just snowy weather that could make a kicker's job difficult, even one who kicks for the team in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

His brother's wife, Brittany, died Friday morning of ovarian cancer at 30.

Yet, when the Packers kicker lined up for a 47-yarder with wind blowing snow around MetLife Stadium and with the game against the New York Giants still close in the second quarter, Crosby nailed it just like he's done on all but one kick this season.

And after the Packers' 31-13 win, he somehow kept his composure despite what has been a nightmarish week in a season full of family concerns.

Crosby, whose own wife underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in her lung in August, flew home to Georgetown, Texas, on Friday to be with his brother and rejoined the team for Sunday's win.

He planned to return home Sunday night after the game, and he's taking the game ball with him. It was sitting in Crosby's locker and after he finished speaking in front of a large group of reporters, he retreated to his locker and looked at the gift from coach Matt LaFleur.

"Coach gave me a ball for just kind of everything that's been going on and coming and having a decent game," said Crosby, who made his only field goal and all four extra points he attempted. "I mean, I did my job, but there was a lot going on. I'm just so thankful for the guys in this locker room and the support that I feel and everyone reaching out and anything they can do to help me. It's been great."

Crosby's wife, Molly, and their five children, remained in Texas over the weekend to be with Crosby's brother, Rees. He said he planned to return to Green Bay for practice on Wednesday and then would go home again for the funeral on Friday. Crosby, 35, first went public with Brittany's disease in 2017, when she was diagnosed with cancer at age 27.

"I'm going to fly right back to Austin and be with my brother and spend a couple of days with him," Crosby said. "I'm just so thankful for this organization and the way they handled this tragedy and the fact that they didn't blink at all to make it so I could go be with my brother.

"I'll come back, get two days of work in and then we'll just try to get down and back either Friday or we'll figure it out. But yeah, it's tough. She's an amazing person and it's so hard to see your brother and just that emptiness there."

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' voice lowered when he spoke about Crosby.

"Tough situation for sure, especially to find out like he did Friday morning after Thanksgiving, when we're all counting our blessings," Rodgers said. "That was obviously really tough for him. We wrapped our arms around him and supported him. He's been through a lot this year. He really has. He's a great friend, a great locker room presence for us. I do applaud the organization for, again, reminding us where the priorities are and allowing him to get down there and see his brother as well as this upcoming week."

Crosby has been near-perfect this season. He's made 14 of 15 field goal attempts and hasn't missed since Week 3 -- plus he's made all 33 of his extra points.

"We've had a tough couple days as a family," Crosby said. "I've just been praying and everyone just keep Brittany, my sister-in-law's family, in your prayers, and my brother and our family. It's not anything you ever want to go through. She fought 'til the end. I definitely have a heavy heart right now."

Crosby said Molly, who underwent lung surgery the day after the Packers' preseason finale, is doing well. He said there are no traces of cancer and "she's in the clear."

"Stuff like this today, this team, just my faith [is how he dealt with it]," Crosby said. "Yeah, just relationships, people in my life that I know I can depend on. In this situation, I'm trying to be a rock and be there for my brother and for Brittany's family and try to be whatever I can and be available and be there as much as possible and support them."