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It's Not a Game: Is Michael Crabtree Latest Sufferer of EA Sports Cover Jinx?

Kevin MullowneyContributor ISeptember 17, 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 started in 2002 when EA Sports put Daunte Culpepper on the cover, which on the surface appeared to be completely harmless. After all, Sports Illustrated has owned the bad mojo reputation for years. But EA Sports apparently wanted to start their own trend and therefore the β€œjinx” was born.

It has taken down the best of the best, including Marshall Faulk, Ray Lewis, Shaun Alexander, Vince Young, Michael Vick, Brett Farve and most recently Troy Polamalu (take cover Larry Fitzgerald). They all went down with a variety of injuries.

Lost in the confusion of bizarre contract demands and a new level of stubbornness is the fact that Michael Crabtree graces one of the covers of the EA Sports NCAA 2010 game for XBOX.

Coincidence? I think not.

While Crabtree doesn't fit the traditional mold of a injured cover boy, you could make the argument that his pride is bruised and seems to have suffered some sort of head injury, made apparent by the fact that Crabtree & Co. have yet to respond to the sit-down request from San Francisco's Jed York. I mean, we're only discussing millions of dollars here.

Crabtree is staring at five years and $20 million, with $15 or $16 million guaranteed. But instead of suiting up and starting at wide receiver for San Francisco, he's sitting in an apartment back home in Texas, whining about what other players signed for.

I get it, you're upset Mike, but wouldn't it be better to go back to the table, take the guaranteed money, maybe build some sort of escalator clauses or an early-contract-renewal clause into the contract and go out there and play?

It's downright scary that players today want to negotiate their contracts on every level EXCEPT production on the field! Instead, this has become all about ego, leverage and pride on both sides.

While ESPN talking heads Mel Kiper and Todd McShay can't agree what will happen to Crabtree if he sits out all season and re-enters the draft next season, it would appear that the "EA-jinx" has spoken for now. Let's hope Crabtree gets it together and becomes an all-star, as opposed to a never-was.

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