Crawford’s team wins opener |

Crawford’s team wins opener

Steve Yingling

For the first time on the opening Sunday of the National Football League, Mike Crawford found himself rooting for a team other than Raiders.

“It was weird because I was hoping they’d win. But they’re in the AFC, and I can’t be rooting a lot for other teams,” said Mike Crawford about four hours after he made a successful NFL debut as the Miami Dolphins outlasted the Indianapolis Colts 16-10 in Miami.

Crawford, a 1992 graduate of Whittell High School, wasn’t as disappointed as usual after learning the Raiders lost to the Oilers, 24-21 in overtime. With only six teams from each conference invited to the postseason, Crawford doesn’t want the Raiders going to the playoffs at the Dolphins’ expense.

In his regular-season debut, Crawford played extensively on the kickoff coverage and return special teams, but received no playing time at linebacker. He made one tackle in the second quarter and believes he assisted on another later in the game.

“It’s not often that a rookie breaks into the starting lineup, so wherever they needed me, I was trying to do my part,” Crawford said.

Crawford was penciled in to play linebacker on the goal-line and short-yardage defensive teams, but neither situation arose.

“I opened my career with a victory, and that’s all that I’m concerned with now. I don’t think about myself now. All the evaluation is pretty much over, and I don’t have to worry about how I’m doing; it’s how the team is doing,” Crawford said.

Crawford and the rest of “The Fish” received a scare late in the game when the Colts recovered an onside kick around midfield with under a minute to play. But Indy’s penetration only went as far as the Miami 25.

“It was scary,” Crawford said.

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