Michael Crabtree: Shut Your Mouth and Get In Camp

Ben AikeyCorrespondent IAugust 6, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 25:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses with with San Francisco 49ers #10 draft pick Michael Crabtree at Radio City Music Hall for the 2009 NFL Draft on April 25, 2009 in New York City  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

As reported on ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Michael Crabtree is prepared to sit out this entire season and re-enter the draft next year.

I wouldn’t buy that even if the late, great Billy Mays tried to sell it to me.

Crabtree is a gifted receiver, no doubt. But what makes him think he’s on the level with someone like Bo Jackson?

Jackson, for those that don’t remember, was drafted first overall in 1986 by the Buccaneers, chose to play for the Kansas City Royals instead, only to enter the draft again the following year.

Jackson, by the way, wasn’t drafted again until the seventh round, and only played four years in the NFL—not really what I would call a success.

Crabtree has made headlines by doing nothing this offseason. Drafted tenth overall in the 2009 Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, Crabtree has refused to sign a contract.

Let me give you some advice, Michael. Get signed and get yourself to camp.

First round picks get paid unheard-of amounts of money—double digit millions usually guaranteed—just for being selected. That’s before they even prove whether or not they have the ability to play at the professional level.

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Also, what do you have better to do than play in the NFL?

You clearly have no intention of finishing college, as proven by your entry in the draft without so much as finishing your academic junior year.

Would you prefer to flip burgers somewhere? They don’t make you sign a contract for that.

Look at a few other players this has happened to in recent memory.

Maurice Clarett entered the NFL Draft after just one year of college ball at Ohio State. When a Supreme Court decision allowed Clarett to enter the draft, fellow underclassman Mike Williams of the University of Southern California also left school to pursue his options as a professional.

The decision was later overturned, and with the NCAA refusing to reinstate both players, what did they do? Sit out all year and try again the following season.

Williams was drafted tenth overall in the 2005 NFL Draft, with the WR-happy Matt Millen taking a chance on his ability in spite of his inactivity. Clarett was drafted by the Broncos in the third round of the same draft.

Where are they now?

Williams, after a lackluster (and that’s being nice) career with the Lions, spent parts of another season with the Titans and Raiders, putting up 539 receiving yards and two touchdowns over the course of three seasons. He is currently a free agent, and has been since 2007.

Clarett was cut before ever playing a preseason game. He is currently serving a seven-and-a-half year prison term for armed robbery. Clarett is eligible for early release after serving three-and-a-half years, but after seeing his request withdrawn earlier this week, it seems as if he will serve the majority of that term.

See where I’m going with this, Mr. Crabtree?

Neither of these two had a chance to play the year they came out of college. And look where they are now.

Unless you’d prefer to be unemployed or in prison by this point next year, stop being a distraction and get to work. If you’d rather get headlines for the wrong reason, by all means, hold out and cause more drama. Become another overrated guy that can’t keep his mouth shut before you even take the field.

You have been given the opportunity, and I suggest you shape up, shut your mouth, and take it before you become another name in the long list of first round busts at the wide receiver position.