Crawford reflects on Dolphins mini camp
Mike Crawford was as recognizable as Dan Marino at the Miami Dolphins minicamp last weekend in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Besides being the only player in camp with white hair, Crawford had appeared in a dynamic photograph in sports sections around the country following the final day of the NFL Draft on April 20.
As a result, he became an immediate celebrity with his new teammates.
“A lot of guys came up to me and said, ‘Are you that dude who jumped off the roof? How high was that?'” said Crawford, who celebrated his sixth-round selection by jumping off the roof of his mother’s home into the Tahoe Keys. “They all think I’m weird, but I kept telling them it’s nothing; it’s only 35 to 40 feet.”
The 1992 Whittell High graduate came away from the four-day minicamp, knowing that being drafted is only a quarter of the battle.
“I have my work cut out for me because there’s lots of competition … lots of linebackers,” said the first-team All-Big West Conference linebacker out of Nevada.
Counting Crawford, the Dolphins plan on inviting at least 11 linebackers to their July training camp. After the roster is trimmed, four of five of the backers won’t be with the Dolphins when they open their season Aug. 31 at home against Indianapolis.
“There’s 11 linebackers and there could be more, and they only want to keep six or seven of them. That’s definitely something where I’m going to make sure I’m in top shape so I can give myself the best chance of making the team.
“I have confidence in the sense that I think I can play at this level and with these guys, but I’m not sure how good a situation this is for me. There’s a lot of linebackers, and a lot of young linebackers.”
The 6-1, 240-pounder spent most of the weekend learning the Dolphins’ defense, a scheme that presented some new problems.
“It’s not too different from the one we used at Nevada, but there is a lot of new terminology … checks and stuff like that,” Crawford said.
“What I need to do is increase my strength and speed in the off-season and then I just need to learn the defense,” he said.
The weekend of learning also brought some disappointment to the capricious Crawford.
“There’s no hills there, no snow, so I don’t know what I’m going to do for fun now.”
But Crawford, the buildings are taller and alligator wrestling is cool.
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