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Published:January 5th, 2006 13:36 EST
The T. Wood's Sport Show's Todd Wood  chats with Miami Dolphin Linebacker Channing Crowder

The T. Wood's Sport Show's Todd Wood chats with Miami Dolphin Linebacker Channing Crowder

By Todd Wood

Channing Crowder is the...Man I have a hard time saying it. Growing up as a UM fan and attending school at FSU, it`s always been hard for me accept players from the blue and orange up in Gainesville. Though I may not like them when they suit up for UF, I typically end up respecting them if I feel that they`ve got real game.

Through the years I`ve seen countless players from UF demonstrate that "real game" ability. From Emmitt Smith to Fred Taylor to Ike Hilliard to Jevon Kearse, the Gators have consistently been able to produce NFL-caliber playmakers. This year is no different.

Channing Crowder has always been an imposing presence in the Gators` defensive backfield. Fighting through his share of injuries (just like his counterpart Frank Gore at UM), Crowder has always bounced back to make a significant impact on games. He has a bit of a history for starting trouble, getting into fights and whatnot, but I`m not so sure that`s a bad thing for an NFL linebacker. Besides, word around town is that our second round pick Matt Roth had a similar history, but nobody seems to be worried about him. In fact, his street fighting legend seems to be viewed as an asset by the local media. Why should Crowder`s feisty attitude be viewed any differently?

Miami Dolphins head coach, Nick Saban, came out of this weekend`s rookie mini-camp praising Crowder`s leadership qualities. Apparently, Channing has a powerful personality that his teammates respond to. That`s exactly what this defense needs; young leaders that will help the veterans keep the defense in good shape and will become the defensive captains when the veterans have moved on.

If Channing Crowder can stay healthy and avoid the off-field distractions, expect him to become the centerpiece of this defense for years to come.