Just one week into a very tenuous retirement, Channing Crowder is talking comeback. He's also taking some shots at his former quarterback.
Crowder played six seasons as a linebacker with the Miami Dolphins, including each of Chad Henne's three up-and-down years with the franchise. Crowder made it clear in a Tuesday radio spot that he doesn't believe Henne has the football DNA to effectively lead the Dolphins.
"He hasn't really proven anything to me while I played with him, and now being on the other side looking down as a fan, he's not impressing me either," Crowder said on WQAM-AM, where he has been a talk-show host.
Crowder is incredulous about Henne living up to his promise in Miami's new-look offense this season.
"He has all the tangibles I want to say, the arm strength -- his feet work (is) funny -- but he can make some good throws," Crowder said. "But the intangibles, the winning the game, the wanting to have everything on his shoulders like the Bradys, like the Mannings and wanting to be down by five with a minute left on the 20-yard line, let's see what happens. He doesn't have that in his heart yet.
"I think it'd be hard for him to win."
Crowder also had some harsh words for Jeff Ireland, saying he wouldn't return to the Dolphins if the general manager still was there. Crowder claimed Ireland didn't like his blunt statements and fined him for things he said before the team released him last month.
"Every time I said something crazy, he called me upstairs," Crowder said. "He fined me 5, 10 grand when I said something real crazy. Which, really, it's entertaining. ... He'd call me in and then give me that one team, one voice and worry about playing football. ... But I love Tony Sparano and that's who I really played for."
Sparano didn't reciprocate that love when told about Crowder's statements against Henne, who's 13-14 as a starter over the past two seasons.
"He's on the radio already, huh?" Sparano said of Crowder, according to the *Miami Herald*. "I'm not going to comment on that. I've gone 'round and 'round about that already, and I think you guys know exactly how I feel about Chad Henne."
Sparano has said that Henne will be the Dolphins' starter, despite rampant rumors earlier this offseason that the team was discussing a trade for Denver Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton. Sparano also stuck up for Henne when some Dolphins fans chanted "We want Orton!" at a recent practice.
Crowder said Tuesday that he still plans to sit out this season because his wife is about to have a baby, but he'll likely return to the NFL in 2012 or 2013. Crowder, who was drafted by the Dolphins in 2005, has been slowed by injuries in recent years and missed five games in 2010.
A week ago, Crowder said he decided to call it a career after being cut by the Dolphins. His announcement was greeted with skepticism because he's just 27 and has a reputation for kidding around.
"I know the guy personally, so I don't see it in him just to hang up the cleats," Miami linebacker Karlos Dansby said Tuesday on WAXY-AM, according to SportsRadioInterviews.com. "He has to be around football; one way or another he has to be around football because it's in him, he was born with it, you can't just hang it up if it's in you like that."
Dansby also doesn't share Crowder's belief that Henne is wrong for the Dolphins, claiming the quarterback has "all our support."
"We have to rally behind him and let him know that we've got his back," Dansby said. "He's the leader of our team right now, and we've just got to support him and be there for him and let him know that he can just let it loose, we've got his back on our side of the ball. And like I said, I think everybody has his back. All he's got to do is be consistent, be consistent and play your game and don't try to force it, just let it come to you."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.