Randy Crowder signed a two-year contract yesterday with the Tampa Bay buccaneers for more money than he had earned with the Miami Dolphins and Don Reese's agent said 10 clubs are interested in signing him.
Crowder and Reese served a year in the Dade County stockade in Florida for selling cocaine to an undercover agent, were released a week ago, and on Friday Pete Rozelle, pro football commissioner, announced an arrangement for the 26-year-old defensive linemen to return to football.
It specified that if they were signed, $5,000 of their salaries must be donated to a drug rehabilitation program in Florida.
It was also provided that once they completed a full season as active players, the clubs that signed them would give up a No. 3 draft choice for each to the Dolphins.
Anthony De Cello, Pittsburgh attorney who represented Crowder, quoted the former Penn State player as saying. "I am extremely happy that Tampa Bay gave me a second chance in life. I will not disappoint Tampa Bay, the fans or Commissioner Rozelle."
De Cello said five other National Football League clubs had made inquiries about signing Crowder.
"We knew Tampa Bay was serious about Randy because they released Ernie Holmes (former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle). Randy practiced with the Dolphins Monday," De Cello said. He disclosed the length of the contract and said it called for more than the Dolphins has paid the three-year veteran.
Peter Huthwaite of Sports Stars International Inc., which represents Reese, said he was not surprised that 10 clubs were interested in signing the former Jackson State College player.
"He was a No. 1 draft choice by the Dolphins," Huthwaite said. "A lot of teams would like to have Don working for them. He is in Florida waiting to hear someone has signed him."
The Dolphins have suffered injuries to defensive linemen Bob Baumhower and A. J. Duhe, who replaced Crowder and Reese last year.
The Dolphins suspended Crowder and Reese when they were arrested and charged, but they filed a grievance with the NFL Players Association.
At a hearing of the player-club relations committee, it was determined that they could not be suspended until the court in Florida acted on the drug charges. When it did, the Dolphins put the players on waivers and they were not claimed.