On March 30, the longtime Dallas defensive end made the move official, announcing via social media his retirement following nine professional seasons.
“Wow, has it really been 9 years? Feels like yesterday I was getting my #70 jersey and trying to Earn that Star on my helmet!” Crawford opens in a statement posted Tuesday to Instagram. “It’s really been a great run and I’m beyond thankful and blessed to have been part of the Dallas Cowboys’ amazing organization. I never took one day for granted as a Cowboy. I had planned to ride off into the sunset without any ‘official’ news but unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Not because I didn’t want to say goodbye, but mostly because as someone who knows the number of people it took to get to where I am at today, I wanted to properly show my appreciation myself and not through sources. As I sit here looking out at the water reminiscing about everyone who played a role in my journey it’s clear that one statement will never do it justice. But this is my attempt.”
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Crawford went on to reference his faith and the support of his closest family and friends — all of which helped carry the 31-year-old from Windsor, Ontario to Boise, Idaho, to the most recognizable franchise in sports.
He then devoted a chunk of gratitude to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, his now-former teammates, and “the best fan base in the world.”
“Thinking back to 2012 when Mr. Jones and the Jones family took a chance on a kid from Windsor, Canada still gives me chills to this day,” Crawford wrote. “I have to thank them for the love and commitment they have shown me and my family over the years. They have opened so many doors for us. For that, I will always be thankful. Thank you Cowboys Nation for being the best fan base in the world. I can’t imagine having to play for any other fan base but you. Y’all made it feel like home almost everywhere my family and I went. Thank you to everyone in the Cowboys building the ones that make the magic happen behind the scenes. From our equipment staff to training room staff, to our world-class doctors, to weight room and kitchen staff, our communications team, and everyone else. I’m sorry I could not mention everyone individually but y’all know I love and respect all of you. Thank you for making our jobs easy. To my coaches over these last 9 years, Thank you! Thank you for always pushing me to become better not only as a player but as a leader and a man. I know coaching players in the NFL is not an easy task but all of you made it look easy. The time and efforts you guys put into our preparation were unmatched in any profession in the world and I respect y’all beyond words.
“To my teammates, you all truly made my decision to hang them up extremely difficult. The good Lord blessed me with one blood brother, but through the locker room, I gained so many more. Being able to experience a bunch of Alphas commit to each other and bond was a sight to see! I’m going to miss y’all boys, and I love you all. If you were one of my teammates I hope your time around me helps continue to lead you on the goals you have to accomplish daily. You know what to do to get the job done! Put in that WorkK! For my teammates no longer playing you know you have a brother for life. Let’s link soon and continue to bless others (in between some vacations haha).”
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It’s unclear for now whether Crawford will remain close to the football realm or pull completely away from it as he embarks on the next chapter of his life. It doesn’t appear, though, that “Coach Crawford” is happening any time soon.
“Although I’m retiring from the game of football, I still have much work to do,” he wrote. “I’m looking forward to being the best father, husband, and man I can be, while also being a big part of my community here in Texas, Bakersfield, Boise, and of course my home country of Canada and the city of Windsor. My plan is to continue to grown [sic] day in and day out … as Coach Marinelli would say C.A.N.I (Constant and Neverending Improvement)! So in many ways, this is goodbye on the field, but off the field, my goals to improve myself and those around me continue, and I will attack it exactly like I did every time I stepped onto the field wearing that star on my helmet!”
Brother! Congrats!! https://t.co/8HMoM3ouim
— Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb) March 31, 2021
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL