St. Augustine Prep graduate Jack Crawford is officially a defensive end in the National Football League.

Crawford, 23, of Longport, signed a rookie contract with the Oakland Raiders on Thursday. He was a fifth-round draft pick in April out of Penn State, where he had 42 tackles and 61/2 sacks last season.

“It was good to sign it and make everything official,” Crawford said in a phone interview Thursday night. “Signing the contract is like a welcome to the working world. This is my job now and it’s always what I’ve hoped to do and hopefully I’ll be doing this for as long as I possibly can.”

Crawford has been staying in a hotel in Oakland, Calif., participating in rookie camps and organized team activities (OTA) for the past four weeks.

“It’s great here,” he said. “It’s so nice and the weather is consistent. I do kind of miss that summer Jersey weather though.”

OTAs finished Thursday and minicamp will start next week. Crawford is more than excited about his rookie season.

“There’s such a good sense of community here,” Crawford said. “There’s a lot of good towns and cities all close by. There’s a big rivalry with San Francisco, but it’s all in good fun.

“Everyone here is very supportive of the Raiders, so it’s definitely a great place to be.”

After minicamp, Crawford will stay in Oakland for another two weeks of rookie camp. He will then come home for almost a month before returning to California in July for training camp.

“I’m really looking forward to getting home and seeing all my family and friends,” Crawford said.

Contact Nyssa Dougherty:

609-272-7210