Matthew Judon has had plenty of reason to celebrate so far this season. The New England Patriots linebacker leads the NFL with 13 sacks, is a key member of one of the league’s top defenses, and has played himself into the Defensive Player of the Year conversation.
His trademark red sleeves have flashed on several occasions this season, and the same goes for his sack celebration. You have seen it: Judon wiping his mouth after taking down the opposing quarterback — a hallmark of his since his days with the Baltimore Ravens.
Where does it come from, though? According to the man himself, it was not just inspired by one of his former teammates: Judon is actually copying it.
“Mark Ingram told me, ‘Bro, you stay with one celebration and you do it over and over. That’s when they notice,’” Judon recently told NFL Films before revealing: “Crabtree used to do it.”
The Crabtree in question is former NFL wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who was a teammate of Judon’s with the Ravens in 2018.
“He was on the team. I asked him,” Judon said. “He was like, ‘It’s cool.’”
Crabtree has since ended his career, but his legacy lives on through the Patriots’ standout linebacker. And the celebration he created has been on display quite a bit through the years: between 2018, when the two shared a locker room, and his current tenure in New England, Judon has notched 49 sacks.
More than half of those — 25.5 — have come in his last one-and-a-half seasons as a Patriot. Of course, with seven more regular season games and some potential playoff football left to be played Judon will have plenty of opportunity to add to those numbers and potentially even threaten the league’s single-season sack record (which stands at 22.5).
The NFL’s most prolific pass rusher does have other goals in mind, however.
“I want to be a champion,” he told NFL Films. “I’ve got so much more to prove. I’ve got so much more to overcome. I’ve got so much more to chase.”