IRVING, Texas – After weighing his options the first few weeks of free agency, Jack Crawford is back where wanted to be all along.
Earlier this week the Cowboys re-signed the 27-year-old defensive lineman to a one-year contract, further bolstering their rotation at defensive end and tackle.
"I'm just happy to be back," Crawford said Wednesday. "Even though I wasn't drafted here, this has become home for me."
Crawford joined with the Cowboys in 2014 after spending his first two seasons in Oakland as a fifth-round draft pick of the Raiders. Last year he posted career numbers (18 team-credited tackles, 4 sacks) in his second season in defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli's system.
He entered unrestricted free agency in March but ultimately felt more comfortable returning to Dallas alongside familiar teammates, coaches and staff members.
Marinelli in particular has brought out the best in his game, he says.
"He definitely changed my career in the sense that coming here he helped me become a professional football player," Crawford said. "I had a lot of talent but I was raw coming out of college. I wasn't as developed as some of the other players. I felt like everything was a split second behind or it took a second to think about things.
"Marinelli, he took that aspect out of it for me. Last year I felt like I had a solid year, and that was really thanks to him. His philosophy allows players to take the thinking out of it. He just allows you to react on the field."
Playing 46 percent of the defensive snaps last season, Crawford pitched in at multiple spots on the defensive line. He has always offered versatility at defensive end and the three-technique tackle spot, but he also played nose tackle for a couple games.
"That's just my job," he said. "Whatever they need me to do, I'm going to do it to the best of my ability."