2009_04_crabtreeAll we need are padded walls…

Back in April, before there was even an NFL draft to slide in, Michael Crabtree was battling rumors that he was a diva. His Texas Tech coach, the always entertaining Mike Leach, even went public ripping into new Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini, who Leach blamed for starting the rumors.

“Michael Crabtree has been more sucessful as a receiver than that guy has as a coach at this point,” Leach said. “My definition of a diva is someone who’s loud and self-absorbed. Michael Crabtree is the furthest thing from that I’ve seen.”

I might not be a high-powered super-agent like Eugene Parker, but if I were representing Michael Crabtree, a guy who played in an offense that labeled just about everyone that played in it with the name “system,” and there were already worries about my clients ego, speed, height, and signability, I’m not sure I’d have let him do the cover of ESPN Magazine looking and sounding like this:

get_imageThat’s the modesty most teams look for when investing $30 million…

In Seth Wickerstam’s ESPN profile, Crabtree came across as a work-out warrior obsessed with getting better. Or maybe it was the opposite of that.

Each morning, Crabtree wakes up at 11:30, then sits in bed, simultaneously watching movies on his flat-screen and Young Jeezy videos on his laptop… At 3 he leaves his place for the first time, impressively fleet on a set of crutches, for lunch at Pappadeaux. The menu: fried shrimp and mashed potatoes, with two lemonades. Then it’s back home for more movies and videos. At 10 Crabtree orders a pepperoni thick-crust from Pizza Hut, the empty box joining nine others stacked like a Jenga game on his kitchen counter. “That’s my regimen,” he says.

That’s right. No sprinting 40s, no lifting 225 pounds, no slaloming around cones. None of the jumping through hoops that passes for talent evaluation during draft workouts. GMs have only two ways to size up Crabtree — talking to him and watching his film.

Crabtree’s agent should’ve been fired the day that article hit newsstands. That’s really the aura you want to be giving off? Young Jeezy videos and nine Pizza Hut boxes? Mashed potatoes and a guy who can’t spend a few hours a day working out the muscles that cover the other 205 other bones that Crabtree has that aren’t broken?

Fast-forward four months, one arrogant cover story, a “shocking” slide in the NFL draft down to the 10th spot and the San Francisco 49ers, and unsurprisingly, Michael Crabtree is threatening to holdout for the entire season and reenter the draft if he doesn’t get what he wants.

“We are prepared to do it,” Crabtree’s cousin enabler and advisor David Wells told ESPN’s Joe Schad.

“Michael just wants fair market value. They took him with the 10th pick and you have Darrius Heyward-Bey getting $38 million? This week is crucial. Michael was one of the best players in the draft and he just wants to be paid like one of the best players. This week is very crucial.”

Congrats to Michael Crabtree for letting a family member sink his professional career before it has even started. It’s a marvel that Wells and Eugene Parker aren’t in charge of the Cash for Clunkers campaign with the way they’ve orchestrated this entire thing.

Michael Crabtree, diva? You. Are. Correct.

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