EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants punter Jamie Gillan was back with the team Thursday blasting punts off the ceiling of their indoor fieldhouse during practice after getting stuck in London because of a passport issue.
Gillan, a Scottish native, returned to the United States on Wednesday night after the issue was resolved.
“He’s free. Jamie’s free,” special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey joked. “He got back last night probably around ten o’clock, whatever it was. But he’s good. He’s ready to rock.”
Gillan said he had to get his passport, P1 visa (specifically for athletes), extended in order to get back in the country. It was something that could only be handled in person.
They knew it would take some time.
“Humongous thanks to the Giants organization and Laurie Tisch for allowing that to happen and talking to the right people,” Gillan said. “And the people at the U.S. Embassy, fantastic people there. They were really helpful there because there is paperwork quite long and involved.
“We had a goal to get me back in two days and we did. So we did it and I’m back there.”
Tisch is the sister of Steve Tisch, the chairman and executive vice president of the Giants. She assisted in expediting the process.
In the meantime, Gillan got to spend a few extra days with his family. He was put up in an Airbnb in London. They ordered food, he snuck in a workout and studied film on his team-issued iPad.
The Giants were hopeful all along that Gillan would return well in advance of Sunday’s matchup with the Baltimore Ravens. They didn’t work out any punters, but did have a contingency plan in place, just in case it took longer than expected.
“Oh yeah. You always do,” McGaughey said. “When you deal with that kind of stuff – embassies, and policies and NATO visas and – you never know what’ll happen. We had a contingency plan. We had a plan prior to. So, we were ready.”
Gillan was insistent they knew his passport was an obstacle they would encounter prior to the return trip. It was awkward not returning with the team, but he made the best of the situation.
It was an issue that would have needed addressing at some point.
“If we weren’t going to London this year I wouldn’t have done that until after the season,” Gillan said. “But, hey, it’s what happened. It was fine.”
Now, he’s back to work, having only missed one day because Giants players were off Monday and Tuesday. He was in the building by Thursday morning.
Jetlag shouldn’t be a problem with the game still several days away.
“No. It’s fine,” Gillan said. “Figure it out. Get some caffeine and stuff.”
Gillan has averaged 51.0 yards (fourth in the NFL) on 21 punts this season.