Linebacker Channing Crowder (pictured, right) was placed on season-ending injured reserve today with a knee injury, while quarterback Casey Bramlet was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster to take his place. He wear No. 7.
Crowder, a three-year veteran who was originally drafted by Nick Saban in the third round out of Florida in 2005, has started 37 of the 43 games in which he has appeared for the Dolphins.
Though an outside linebacker most of his career, Crowder had been starting at middle linebacker since Week 8 with Zach Thomas (migraines) out. Crowder has not played since Week 13 due to knee injury, and underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Tuesday, Dec. 18. He finishes the 2007 season with 78 tackles (61 solo) and half a sack in 11 games (10 starts).
Bramlet, 26, was signed to the Dolphins' practice squad on October 24 - four days after starter Trent Green went on injured reserve. The Dolphins had been going with just two quarterbacks on the active roster since Green's injury, with wide receiver Marty Booker (a high school quarterback) serving as the emergency third-stringer.
An All-Mountain West selection at Wyoming, Bramlet (pictured, left) was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the seventh round (218th overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft. He served as the Bengals' third-string quarterback most of the season behind Jon Kitna and Carson Palmer, though he finished the year No. 2 on the depth chart after Palmer suffered a sprained knee late in the season. Despite a strong showing for the Hamburg Sea Devils of NFL Europe during the 2005 offseason, Bramlet lost the third-string job to Craig Krenzel in training camp.
Bramlet was out of football during the 2005 regular season and signed a future contract with the Washington Redskins in January 2006. He was cut at the end of the preseason, and again spent the regular season out of football. He was re-signed by the Redskins in 2007 and again played for the Hamburg Sea Devils, this time earning World Bowl MVP honors after going 20-of-27 passes for 347 yards and four touchdowns. Nevertheless, he was released prior to training camp when the team opted to carry quarterbacks.
Bramlet was not unemployed for long, however, signing with the Atlanta Falcons on August 12. He released at the end of the preseason, but was re-signed to to practice squad then promoted to the active roster prior to the season opener. He served as the third-string quarterback for the Falcons' first two games of the season, but was released by the team when Byron Leftwich was signed on September 18.
Crowder is the 14th Dolphins player, the third linebacker and second starter at the position (after Zach Thomas) to go on IR this season. While a serviceable starter, Crowder's numbers were quite pedestrian this season and the Dolphins' defense has struggled with or without him. He still has a good upside and a future in Miami, as he is under contract through 2008 and is viewed the potential long-term replacement to Thomas inside.
In his absence, the Dolphins will continue to go with the trio of Donnie Spragan, Derrick Pope (pictured, right) and Joey Porter in the starting lineup. Rookies Edmond Miles, Kelvin Smith and Mark Washington will see action in reserve roles.
Meanwhile, Bramlet is unlikely to play this season barring injuries to both Cleo Lemon and John Beck. As with most practice squad guys promoted to the active roster, it is likely he was signed to at least a two-year deal so that the team may retain him this offseason. (Practice squad players are only under contract for one season at a time.) With Lemon an unrestricted free agent at season's end and Green's future is in doubt, the Dolphins will likely bring in a body or two at the position. It seems unlikely, if Bramlet sticks around for camp at all, that he'll have a chance at anything more than the third-string job.