Michael Crabtree: Please Sign on the Dotted Line

Bryan FordCorrespondent IAugust 13, 2009

SANTA CLARA, CA - MAY 01:  Michael Crabtree #15 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on during practice as quaterback Alex Smith #11 practices during the 49ers Minicamp at their training facilities on May 1, 2009 in Santa Clara, California. Crabtree was the 49ers first round draft pick.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)


It's time to stop listening to the crazy cousin. Call your agent and say, "It is your job to get me signed. Get over to San Francisco and don't call me until a deal is done."

It probably won't be that easy. You'll probably have to come to the conclusion that you aren't going to be paid top five first round money.

Hey, I know, I know. Your talent is top five. But the fact is, you weren't drafted there.

Yes, the Raiders were crazy to pass you up at number seven. But that is your blessing and surely it is worth a million or two less dollars.

Think about it. You were almost a Raider. Where that crazy old guy works. The one with a penchant for too much gold jewelry and track suits. Every time I see him, I think someone has made the unwise choice to make Weekend at Bernie's III. Shudder.

The 49ers aren't at the top anymore, but I'm more inclined to believe they could be in a season or two. Especially with you on the field.

I'm not a stalker, Mr. Crabtree, but I have seen you play many times. I've even seen you at a Texas Tech practice up close. You didn't look like the other receivers. You were bigger, faster, stronger and just better. That translated to the field on Saturdays. You played like a man among boys.

Remember your true freshman season when you redshirted? That is when I started hearing about you. How on the scout team and Thursday night freshman scrimmages, you were killing everyone. Still, no one believed you would make the instant impact you did.

You became a Biletnikoff Award winner as a redshirt freshman! Never happened before.

And then you went and won it again as a sophomore.

Along the way, there was the play of the year against Texas. Everyone knew Tech would try to get you the ball. You beat double coverage, snatched the ball cleanly in your hands. You could have stepped out of bounds, but no, you used your athletic ability and strength to quickly cut up field and stepped into the end zone.

It's a play almost every football fan in the United States has seen. It was shown over and over again on ESPN and other sports stations.

I'm sure 49er fans think about it. But what they really want is to see you make great plays for them. There are receptions and touchdowns to be made in the NFL. But not until you sign.

The NFL is a violent place to work. You want to make all the money you can as fast as you can. Understandable. But is it worth killing your image?

At Tech, you were viewed as a great teammate. Someone who cared about the team and players around him. You were even the team barber to many. You never took plays off. You blocked downfield on running plays. And of course you helped your team win.

You are a very marketable player. You made the cover of EA Sports NCAA Football for the Xbox. You signed a deal with Subway.

But now, many view you as the greedy receiver who might have suggested that he would sit out all of this season if you don't get your way. Sure that was only said by your crazy cousin, but most people don't have time to find out who said what.

Your agent is now stating you won't sign until at least September. That is still over two weeks away. Sure, your head coach held out as a rookie, but he only missed a week. If that was the case for you, well, we wouldn't be having this conversation now.

Michael, I can't pretend to know what it is like to be in a contract negotiation of this type.

I can say I'm a fan of yours and I want to see you succeed. To do that, you need to get signed and get into camp. You have the type of talent to be rookie of the year. But you are putting yourself farther and farther behind every day of camp you miss. 

Find your way to 49er land and sign your name. When you do, you will be a rich young man. And you will officially be on your way in your NFL career.