Cowboys DL Jack Crawford happy to have visa problems behind him

IRVING, Texas -- On the outside, defensive lineman Jack Crawford's work visa issue was funny. Even coach Jason Garrett chuckled about it last week.

Only now can the 27-year-old Crawford, a London native, laugh about being stuck in England for nearly a week. Although Crawford attended Penn State and is a four-year NFL veteran, he must secure a new visa each year to work in the United States. It took Crawford longer than usual to secure the visa when he returned home, so he missed the first week of organized team activities (OTAs).

“It worked out for me -- probably as quick as I could do it -- but it’s just very inconvenient time of year for me, because OTAs are starting,” Crawford said. “I didn’t want to miss OTAs, and now I feel like I’m behind trying to catch up, but it was all right. Everything worked out and went smoothly.”

Remember, Crawford signed a one-year deal worth $1.6 million. Odds are slim he'd get cut in training camp, but Crawford knows he needs all the work he can get in the offseason.

Even though he's one of the most versatile players on the defensive line, Crawford's not the kind of player who would show up at training camp assuming he had a roster spot. He finished last season with 21 tackles, four sacks and three tackles for loss -- all career highs.

“There’s no way around it for each party, so I had to go back in order to become a lawful resident,” Crawford said of getting a visa. “You have to go over there and schedule an interview over there once you have all your paperwork ready and then you go to the U.S. Embassy, and it’s pretty straightforward to be honest.”

A green card would make Crawford’s life less complicated. Until he obtains one, every time he signs a new deal he must return to England and get a new visa.

“It forces us to miss time and work. Obviously we don’t want to do that -- it’s not good for the team, it’s not good for us,” Crawford said. “I think that’s a real issue, and I just don’t know if there’s a way around it or what could be done. But it’s definitely part of the system, being an international player in the NFL, that there’s no way around it.”