INDIANAPOLIS – The Falcons have been in touch with former Miami linebacker Channing Crowder, who plans to make a comeback after sitting out last season.
Crowder, the former North Springs High and Florida standout who prematurely retired at age 28, is ready to make a comeback. The Atlanta Falcons, who hired Crowder’s last defensive coordinator in Mike Nolan, have been in touch and will most certainly check out Crowder.
“I’d love to play in Atlanta,” Crowder said. “Coach Nolan is my guy. Actually, when he got the job in Atlanta he [sent] me a text. Coach Nolan is a first class guy. I’m not just saying that to be politically correct. He’s a first class guy and a great defensive coordinator. He’s a great guy. When he I got released he texted me back then and said that ‘it was great to coach you.’”
In his most recent text to Crowder, Nolan just told Crowder that he was landing in his hometown.
“I told him if he needs a better linebacker let me know,” Crowder said. “He texted me back and said ‘I’ll keep in touch.’ ”
Crowder was working on radio row during the Super Bowl week for 560 WQAM, a South Florida radio station.
He retired last season because of a family situation.
“What happened was, the Dolphins released me the second day of camp,” Crowder said. “My wife was 37 weeks pregnant and I had to workout for the Patriots. Me and my agent [Joel Segal] were working on setting up some other workouts. When I went to New England, I felt funny leaving my wife.
“She couldn’t travel at 37 weeks. I would have went straight into camp and would have missed my son’s birth. He was born early term, like the next week, so I would have really missed his birth.”
Crowder, who started 74 games and played in 82, did not send in his retirement papers to the league. He was selected by the Dolphins in the third-round of the 2005 draft, 70th overall.
“I react with my heart,” Crowder said. “It was not a real rational thing. This is the NFL and you only have a certain window. I didn’t feel like leaving my wife. I wanted to be there for my first child to be born so I said I was going to hang it up.”
Missing last season wasn’t tough for Crowder, who just concentrated on his radio career.
“But what surprised me was the mental aspect of it,” Crowder said. “The pressure that it puts on you and the stress that it puts on you; just knowing that from week-to-week you are trying to perform at your highest level to keep a job.
“Just the mental relaxation was cool. But then watching guys, personally I’m bias, that I think I can play with and guys that I think I’m better than, was tough. We’ll see what happens. I’ll work out and see if anybody shows me some attention.”
Crowder said that his wife is fine and that his son is healthy at 18 pounds and 25 inches long.
“He’s a big ol’ boy, now,” Crowder said.
Crowder worked out at Athletes Edge at Florida Atlantic University during the lockout. He’ll go back there and try to get back in NFL shape.
“There is working out and then there is football working out,” Crowder said. “I’ve got to ramp that up. I’ve been running and keeping that sexy look up. Just trying to keep my weight down. I’ve been doing that kind of working out. When I get back on Monday, I’m going to get back into football workouts. I would love to play football again.”
If football doesn’t work out for Crowder, he figures he’s a natural for a career in radio.
“During my playing career I was always known as an outspoken and loud mouth player,” Crowder said. “What is radio? People who are outspoken and have a loud mouth. So there is kind of a natural connection. I love the opportunity that I have with 560.”
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog