Channing Crowder is set to provide a fantastic test for the Blank-Dimitroff era Falcons' uneasy examination of their stringent player character policy - or at least the local media's examination, as we have no idea if the powers that be in Flowery Branch are even considering changing how they evaluate character. We've been talking about it for two months, so we assume they are, too.
If reports of Crowder's interest in joining his former coordinator MIke Nolan in Atlanta are true, he'll be a litmus test as to whether or not general manager Thomas Dimitroff and owner Arthur Blank agree with the sentiment that these Falcons need a little "dog" in them (as Deion Sanders has remarked) to get to that next level. Because Channing Crowder is crazier than a peach orchard boar, a metaphor we provide in some part because Crowder used to wrestle wild hogs to train for the rigors of SEC play while at Florida.
With the Falcons expected to re-sign middle linebacker Curtis Lofton, if - IF - Crowder were to un-retire (he up and called it a career in the summer of 2011 when issues arose with Miami and he didn't want to move his pregnant wife), he'd likely replace oft-injured veteran (and fellow Gator) Mike Peterson. And that's why this potential swap is so interesting: A Peterson / Crowder exchange is, on paper, swapping a venerable locker room presence and a molder of young players for a pair of wide-legged, neon green crazy pants. DImitroff has made it a tenet of practices to eliminate character concerns, so much so it was outlined in a book.
Given his AWOL status this past season and his somewhat bonkers personality, Crowder would come at a relative song compared to a sane, currently employed linebacker of his ability. Dimitroff is a veteran of the New England system, an operation known for either successfully assimilating problem personalities (Corey Dillon, Chad Ochocinco) or spitting them out with little investment lost (Albert Haynesworth).
It's been stated that the Patriots would've never made the move the Falcons did to bring in Julio Jones, nor would the Falcons have risked absorbing Randy Moss' personality in the fragile post-Vick era of locker room rancor and strained public relations. Just like in last year's Draft, Dimitroff is about to spend another offseason being measured by his adherence to the commandments of "The Patriot Way."
For more on the Atlanta Falcons, check out The Falcoholic. For news and notes from around the league, check out SB Nation's NFL page.