ALAMEDA -- Michael Crabtree believes he has a lot to offer the Raiders. The former 49ers receiver rattled off a few key traits during his first engagement with the East Bay press.
“Experience. Style. Friendship. I bring a lot,” Crabtree said. “It’s going to be fun.”
He’s got the style thing worked out. Crabtree was certainly fresh dressed, rocking a black parka-style vest in the Thursday afternoon heat.
Football is a bit more important in the long run. The Raiders need Crabtree to fit in well and be productive on an offense in need of consistent weapons. Crabtree has the skill set to do that.
“He brings sure hands, the ability to separate and catch the ball,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “He has played in big games and made big catches. He has had significant production through the first six years of his career. He’s a good football player.”
There is some concern leg injuries have sapped his explosiveness. Crabtree says that’s not the case.
Some say he’s a less-than-stellar teammate at times, especially when things go south, but Crabtree dismisses the notion.
“I just talk, and I don't worry about talk,” Crabtree said. “People say a lot of things, but until you get to know people you know for yourself, it's just talk."
Del Rio has taken a similar stance to Crabtree’s reputation.
“I don’t concern myself with how people felt before he got here,” Del Rio said. “I’m most concerned with the teammate and the player he is for us, in the here and now. Our focus will be on him being a good teammate, him competing for his role and being a productive player for us.”
Crabtree needs production to improve on a disappointing free-agent experience. Interest was light this offseason, and a big-money market never materialized. Crabtree ended up signing an incentive-laden one-year contract with the Raiders.
“I’ve got a lot to prove, a lot,” Crabtree said. “I don’t have anything to lose, but I've got a lot to prove.”
Crabtree is excited to do so with the Raiders. If he can produce and elevate a struggling franchise, he’ll be far more attractive on next year’s free-agent market.
“The Raiders have a legendary program,” Crabtree said. “If you can get them back to the top, that’s a big deal. It’s a challenge for me, but I’m ready to take on that challenge. Me and my team, the rest of the guys in the locker room, they’re ready too. I can’t do anything but ride with them."