Crowder re-signs with Dolphins, shortly after saying 'they dropped the ball'

MIAMI -- Linebacker Channing Crowder signed a multiyear contract to remain with the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday, a surprising move after negotiations appeared at a stalemate only a few days ago.

"Things change. There was compromise by both sides," said Crowder's agent, Joel Segal. "Channing wanted to be back with the Dolphins."

A former University of Florida star, Crowder has been a starter for the Dolphins since his rookie season in 2005. He moved from outside linebacker to the middle last year, when Zach Thomas departed, and had a career-high 114 tackles.

But it was unclear that the Bill Parcells regime wanted to keep Crowder. Discussing the Dolphins last Friday, Crowder said: "They had the first crack at it, and they dropped the ball. ... It's their loss."

Miami has three players still set to become unrestricted free agents, all in the secondary. They are cornerback Andre Goodman and safeties Yeremiah Bell and Renaldo Hill. The Dolphins are especially eager to retain Bell, who led the team in tackles, and free agency begins Friday.

Miami averted the loss of offensive tackle Vernon Carey to free agency when he signed a six-year, $42 million contract last week.

Crowder, a former third-round draft pick, has been criticized for his failure to make many big plays. His career totals include no interceptions, 1.5 sacks and three fumbles recovered. However, Crowder was the second-leading tackler last season on a much-improved defense for the Dolphins, who won the AFC East in 2008 after going 1-15 in 2007.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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