Crawford waived by Dolphins |

Crawford waived by Dolphins

Before Tuesday, the last time a football team didn’t want Mike Crawford, he was a puny ninth-grader who was advised to try out for the soccer team. The Miami Dolphins gave up on the third-year linebacker who is recovering from an abdominal injury.

The George Whittell High grad’s release came after the Dolphins removed him from the reserve physically unable to perform list.

“Every time you close doors, new ones open. It’s just the way the business is,” said Crawford, who claims to harbor no hard feelings toward the Dolphins.

Crawford, who was a two-time Big West All-Conference linebacker while playing for the University of Nevada in 1995 and 1996, missed the entire 1998 season because of the abdominal ailment.

The 1996 Las Vegas Bowl MVP fractured his pelvis while squatting weights in May of 1998. However, the pain never disappeared after his pelvis healed.

Doctors were baffled in their diagnosis of the injury before settling on an abdominal muscle tear as the source of pain. Two operations were needed – the latest performed by Dr. Bill Meyers on Jan. 11 in Boston, Mass. – before Crawford started to recover.

“It’s kind of a strange injury and it’s delayed him somewhat, but if he picks up where he left off in the spring minicamps, he’s going to help us,” said Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson last June during a visit to the South Shore. “His minicamp work was quite a bit above what he did for us last year and because of this he had thrown himself right in the picture for playing time.”

Prior to training camp last year, the Dolphins continued to show faith in Crawford healing, placing him on the physically unable to perform list, thereby securing his $200,000 salary in the second year of a three-year deal signed in 1997.

“This is bigtime for me, getting some respect for my football playing ability. This is the best I could hope for coming into training camp injured,” said Crawford last July as training camp opened.

Crawford moved back and forth between the practice squad and the Dolphins active roster in his rookie season in 1997. He saw significant playing time during the preseason due to an injury to regular linebacker Zach Thomas. He finished the season on the active roster, including a playoff loss, and saw extensive action on special teams.

Crawford, a 1992 Whittell graduate, was an all-state and all-division linebacker during his prep career with the Warriors.

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