IRVING, Texas – Of all the excuses to miss a practice, Jack Crawford might have the best one. After all, there aren't any other Cowboys players who need a visa to work legally in the United States.
"There's nothing I can do," Crawford said Wednesday. "There's no way around it for each party, so I had to go back in order to become a lawful resident."
Crawford has lived in the U.S. for roughly 11 years, but he is a native of London. That helps explain why he missed last week's first three OTA practices while he secured a new visa.
"You have to go over there and schedule an interview over there once you have all your paperwork ready," Crawford said. "You just go home, schedule an interview and then you go to the U.S. embassy, and it's pretty straightforward to be honest."
Crawford went through his interview, and then he waited several days to receive his visa. He returned to the U.S. last Friday, giving him ample time to prepare for the Cowboys' second week of practices. The process itself wasn't exactly trying, although the timing isn't great.
The fifth-year veteran said he was unable to make preparations for a new visa until he signed a new contract, which came in April when the Cowboys brought him back on a one-year deal.
"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," he said. "I didn't want to miss OTAs, and now I feel like I'm behind trying to catch up, but it was alright. Everything worked out and went smoothly."
Only time will tell what's in store for Crawford, but he will have to obtain a new visa the next time he signs a contract – which one would expect will happen around this time next year. To offset that, he said he's trying to obtain a green card.
Until then, it's just another unique obstacle in the life of an international NFL player.
"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," he 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."