EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — New York Giants punter Jamie Gillan was back with the team on Thursday, blasting punts from the ceiling of his indoor court during practice after getting stuck in London in because of a passport problem.
Gillan, from Scotland, returned to the United States on Wednesday evening after the issue was resolved.
“He’s free. Jamie is free,” joked special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey. “He came back last night around 10 p.m., whatever. But he’s fine. He’s ready to play.”
Gillan said he needed to extend his passport visa (P-1A, which is specifically for athletes) to re-enter the country. It was something that could only be handled in person.
They knew it would take time.
“A huge thank you to the Giants organization and Laurie Tisch for making this happen and talking to the right people,” Gillan said. “And the people at the US Embassy, fantastic people there. They were really helpful there because there is paperwork, quite long and involved.
“We were aiming to get me back in two days, and we did. So we did, and I’m back there.”
Tisch is the sister of Steve Tisch, president and executive vice president of the Giants. She helped speed up the process.
In the meantime, Gillan was able to spend a few extra days with her family. He was hosted in an Airbnb in London. They ordered food, and he snuck in a workout and studied filmmaking on his team’s iPad.
The Giants had hoped all along that Gillan would return well before Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens. They couldn’t find any bettors, but have a contingency plan in place, just in case it takes longer than expected.
“Oh yeah. You still do,” McGaughey said. “When you’re dealing with this stuff – embassies and NATO policies and visas and – you never know what’s going to happen. We had a contingency plan. We had a plan before. So we were ready .”
Gillan insisted that they knew his passport was an obstacle they would encounter before the return trip. It was embarrassing not to return with the team, but he made the best of the situation.
It was a question that should have been addressed at some point.
“If we hadn’t gone to London this year I wouldn’t have made it until the end of the season,” Gillan said. “But, hey, that’s what happened. It was good.”
Now he’s back at work, having missed just one day because Giants players were out on Monday and Tuesday. He was in the building Thursday morning.
Jet lag shouldn’t be an issue with the game still in several days.
“No. It’s okay,” Gillan said. “Understand it. Take caffeine and all that.”
Gillan has averaged 51.0 yards (fourth in the NFL) on 21 punts this season.