That is, Michael Crabtree’s feet—blistered and sore from a new pair of shoes. It is the sort of niggling information that makes the avid 49er fan ask, "What’s up with this guy?"
He was the 10th player taken in the 2010 draft and promptly held out for five games, but as soon as he stepped on the field, he made a difference.
Yet questions remain.
One of them is commitment. From the holdout to a somewhat petulant attitude last year—which in retrospect of all things Mike Singletary might be completely understandable—questions linger about Crabtree more than just about any player on the team this side of Alex Smith.
For most of us, it would be normal for someone of Crabtree’s standing to take the approach of working extra hard to impress the new boss, in this case coach Jim Harbaugh. Of course, that means making the extra time to participate with teammates and at least give the impression of trying to take the steps to get ready for training camp.
In the meantime, negotiations between NFLPA representatives and NFL owners continue. When an agreement in principle can be reached is unknown; it could be tomorrow, could be Sept. 1. In any case, once an agreement is reached, teams are going to do everything they can to improve, and they are going to do it fast.
When it comes to signing free agents, it will be a compressed period. Drawn-out negotiations will likely be a thing of the past. Teams will make their best offer, and players will accept.
It’s that environment that Crabtree has be to aware of, for there is nothing that guarantees his position.
With that, who is to say the 49ers' front office and coaching staff might not want to pursue a top free agent receiver like Sidney Rice. I can think of five reasons why the 49ers should consider a strong effort to sign Rice.