Channing Crowder

The 2005 NFL season will be a new era for the Miami Dolphins. Former LSU coach Nick Saban is the new head coach. University of Florida linebacker Channing Crowder will be an addition to the Miami Dolphins defense with Zach Thomas and Junior Seau. He finished his college career with 179 tackles and four sacks. In future years he will definitely make more of an impact on the Miami Dolphins defensive side of the football when given the opportunity.

Listen to the Channing Crowder CYInterview:

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Chris Yandek: First off how are you?

Channing Crowder: “Pretty good.”

CY: How does it feel to be signed by the Miami Dolphins before the regular season for the next four years?

CC: “It’s a great opportunity. I just came out early and jumped into the position I was in. I appreciate Coach Saban and the whole Miami Dolphins family for giving me an opportunity.”

CY: How do you feel you’ve progressed through the pre season games thus far?

CC: “I was playing a lot. We had Junior Seau who was down with a minor injury and I stepped up in his place. I played ok. I am trying to get use to the speed of the game. Just trying to go out there and help the team win.”

CY: What was the deciding factor that made you decide to enter the NFL Draft instead of returning to the University of Florida?

CC: “Well, my mom is a big influence on my life. We sat down with a lot of coaches that know the NFL and we weighed the pros and cons. My family situation was that I have two sisters and I thought maybe if I go to the NFL I can help my family. Just go and try to start a career.”

CY: What are your thoughts on playing next to Zach Thomas and Junior Seau and working with those guys during training camp thus far?

CC: “It’s a great opportunity. For them to do what they are able to do and help us young guys is great. They are mentors and help us out, just to watch them on film during plays and see how they play. They have 26 years between the two of them. That is pretty amazing to have that NFL experience in front of you. I said during the NFL Draft that I wanted to go somewhere with established linebackers to really teach me the things. I got two of them. I was really blessed with that.”

CY: How do your knees feel these days and is that still a lingering issue?

CC: “They feel great. I don’t wear braces or anything like that. I know with the history I had it wasn’t going to be a problem, but it was going to be an issue through the whole process. The Miami Dolphins took a chance on me. I have to prove it was a good decision on their part.”

CY: What are your thoughts on playing for Nick Saban and as a coach overall?

CC: “He’s a great coach. I played against him for two years so I have that player respect for him. He had a great team the two years we played him. He had a well coached team. He is a great guy and leader. He is a serious guy. That’s no problem though. I am happy he is here.”

CY: Do you feel that since your father was a great NFL player that you have an edge over some if not most rookies because you know what to expect heading into these upcoming mini-camps and training camps?

CC: “The game has really changed. I don’t really deal with my father a lot. He didn’t really help me out through that. I think I had an edge maybe going to a larger university and many players helped me that I played with that are in the NFL now told me what to do and told me what to expect. I think just going to a major university with a lot of NFL experience coming back in the off season helped me a lot in this process.”

CY: Your father played for the Miami Dolphins, and now you get drafted by the Miami Dolphins. Tell us your thoughts about that.

CC: “I know all the general mangers, ownership, and coaches had to be different. A lot of the guys had to have passed by now that drafted my father. It’s a coincidence. It is funny when I think about one of the only times in history.”

CY: What do you think is the most important thing you can learn as a rookie in the NFL?

CC: “Do your job. Work hard. Know there are a lot of guys up there that are better players than you. You gotta work hard and learn as much as you can. If you are here you gotta play ball but it’s a lot of mental. You gotta do a lot more studying than just play off of natural ability.”

CY: On November 20, 2004 The University of Florida defeated Florida State 20-13 which was both yours and head coach Ron Zook’s final game. What did it feel like as a player going out that way in your final regular season game?

CC: “It was a great feeling. He got fired after the Mississippi State game and still had four more games left. He didn’t have to coach us as he was paid off. They were dedicating the field to Bobby Bowden that night and it was really kind of like a movie setup. Everything was against us and the coaches didn’t have to be there. We could have gave up on the season and weren’t going to any major bowls. We really prevailed and came out on top of a team on paper that was supposedly better than us. Like they say anything can happen any day.”

CY: Finally, what is the one thing you want to accomplish through your NFL career?

CC: “Just be one of the best. Just strive to be who I can be. Everybody wants to be the best at their position so probably one of the best linebackers to ever play the game.”