Programming note: Tune in to SportsNet Central tonight at 6, 10:30 p.m. and midnight for our latest Meet the Rookies segment with Raiders LB Miles Burris, only on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area!
Raiders rookie defensive end Jack Crawford took one of the more unconventional routes to the NFL.
Living in London until the age of 16, Crawford was introduced to American football much later than most of the players selected in the 2012 NFL Draft. But that didnt stop him from impressing the Raiders enough for the silver and black to select him in the 5th round.At 6-foot-5, 274 pounds, Crawford is a physical specimen. But as much promise as Crawford displays physically, the Penn State alum still has a lot to learn.I really didnt start to learn the game and follow the game until I came to America. I came when I was 16 years old, originally a basketball player, I came over to New Jersey. I started to go to the high school games, and I used to be a rugby player too, back in London I always liked the physical part of the game, its interesting, and once you learn the rules to the game, its more exciting to watch than any other game. It was really just going to those high school games and thinking to myself, I could play this game.Crawford has since proven that he was made for the game of football, displaying skills at Penn State that caught the eye of Raiders management.Speaking to Reggie McKenzie, the general manager, he said the thing that stood out to him was my effort. Always running to the ball, chasing the ball carrier down, playing four quarters. He said Thats what we need on the Raiders, and he said that if I could bring that to the team that there would be a spot for me on the team.Physical abilities aside, Crawford is relying on the teams veterans to show him the way in other aspects of the game.Its a whole different level from college, and Im just really trying to step up to the plate and learn as much as I can from these vets, people like Richard Seymour and Matt Shaughnessy in front of me. Really trying to learn as much as I can when they come back so that I can elevate my game to that point and learn from the best.