VETTEL: One on One With Channing, Part 2

It is pretty obvious Channing Crowder is longing to be on the field with his former teammates. But there's no going back, and the talented linebacker has plenty to keep him amused going to individual workouts with various NFL teams with the draft less than three weeks away.

We talked Sunday night, just as Channing Crowder was getting ready to fly to New England Monday to visit with owner Bob Kraft and Head Coach Bill Bellicheck. We talk about that visit and the growing disparity in the predictions for what his draft fate may be.

LV: Channing what is the latest on your draft preparations and you interactions with various NFL teams?

CC: I went to the combines. Then I had a personal workout with Coach Bellicheck from the Patriots and I'm going up there tomorrow (Monday) to meet the owner. We've also been talking about going to Dallas to meet with the Cowboys and the St. Louis Rams. But I hear different things every day. I think I've heard that all 32 teams want to draft me. So I try not to listen to the hype any more. I just can't wait until the countdown is over and I'm sitting there fishing and some team calls and says they're about to draft me.

LV: If you listen to every rumor there might be some NBA teams looking to draft you, right?

CC: I hear it all the time. Every day somebody tells me their buddy's cousin's, mom's sister is the secretary for Coach Gruden and they want you. I just say thank you, I appreciate it and I'll be there if they call my name.

LV: But when Coach Bellicheck comes down to work you out in person, I mean he's the best in the business right now. So he comes down and works you out spends some time with you and is impressed enough to want you to meet the owner, that must mean their interest is real serious, doesn't it?

CC: If I were to guess I would have to say so, but with me not knowing.. I was talking with Mike Peterson, Lito Shepperd, Gerard Warren, Mike Nattiel and they all said the guys who spent the most time and worked the hardest didn't even draft them. They tell you they're in love with you but when the time comes they pick someone else and you end up with a team that never showed any interest in you. Going to New England would be amazing, stepping into, you know a dynasty like that but I just gotta wait until the 23rd and see what happens and what my career is going to do.

LV: Is it hard not having any control of the situation and accepting that the league is what it is and you have to go where they tell you?

CC: Yeah, it is now. It wasn't right after the season when I went out to New Orleans and worked out to get ready for the combine, and then I had three more weeks to try and prepare for pro day. But after pro day it's kinda like, what's next? I'm working out to be ready to mini-camp wherever I am but it seems like there's nothing left I can do to improve my draft status.

LV: Channing you've had multiple knee surgeries. How much have the NFL folks tested, poked and prodded you where that's concerned?

CC: Oh yeah, at the combines the medical part usually takes about an hour or and hour-and-a-half, but I was in there letting pull and twist on my knees for about four hours. Then I had about four hours of MRIs because they wanted to look inside and see what all was going on. Some guys said I might have been more of a risk so we went to Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham and had him examine me. He sent out a letter of recommendation to all the NFL teams saying he sees me as no more risk than any other player.

LV: You ought to send that letter to Mel Kiper because he has you falling into the third round in part because of your knees, while others have the Patriots trying to trade up to get you. Does that bother you, or do you treat it like all the other rumors and let it go in one ear and out the other?

CC: I met Mel Kiper at the Senior Bowl 'cuz I went there just to walk around and meet some people and he was I love with me saying I was going number 22 to Green Bay and that I'm one of the best athletes in the draft. Now he's saying I'm going down and I might third or fourth round or whatever. I've never looked at his draft board compared to what really happened so I don't know if it's on target every year. I hope not because now he's saying I'm not as good as I'm supposed to be so I hope he's wrong from that standpoint.

LV: Channing to do you talk a lot with C4 and compare notes about what you're going through, what you're hearing and how you're preparing?

CC: Yeah, me and Ciatrick were always tight but we got close in New Orleans when we were working out together every day. He's in Jacksonville now and working out. There's really nothing more you can do in terms of draft preparation. So we're just talking about messin' around and stuff, we're just cool now so it's not really about preparation.

LV: What are you going to do on draft day, where are you going to be?

CC: My family and all is coming to Gainesville to my apartment and watch it. I'm going fishing and getting away from everything because they announce the first pick of the draft, "The San Francisco 49ers select…" and then it's 15 minutes before anything else happens. You could have a heart attack sitting there waiting and waiting.

LV: So you going fishing?!!?

CC: I'm going fishing. The teams they usually call you a few minutes before they announce your name and says it's coach so-and-so from team whatever and we're making you the 23rd pick or whatever… so I'm gonna take my cell phone with me and try to catch some bass.

VETTEL'S TAKE: I've had a lot of guys tell me they were playing golf, but Channing is the first to make plans to catch a bass or two on draft day. His is a rather unique situation. His athleticism and competitiveness make him one of the top 25 players in this draft. Still a couple of off-field transgressions and knee injuries raise some warning flags about taking him too high.

I have to believe the Patriots and Packers will give strong consideration to choosing him in the later stages of round one. If he isn't chosen then, even more teams will take a look in round two. I cannot imagine Channing Crowder being a third round selection. Then again I cannot imagine anyone dumb enough to choose Blair Thomas over Emmitt Smith, but it happened.


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