Before I proceed, an observation here. Why is it that wide receivers, among the offensive skilled positions, have this knack for being prima-donnas? Is it in their DNA? Maybe their agent has them believing their own press clippings? I’m sure other reasons are out there, but my point basically is this: the San Francisco 49ers made WR Michael Crabtree their first pick in this year’s NFL draft. And Crabtree apparently thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips, too. Hence, the current stalemate between he and the team.
I am not going to question that Crabtree is very talented – VERY talented. But that only takes you only so far when you all of a sudden, upon being drafted decide to cop an attitude and suffer from a case of Ochocincoitis or Terrell Owens syndrome. I think we already know what a case of T.O. syndrome does to your career.
Fortunately for the 49ers, there is a voice – and a booming one, at that – of reason these days in Santa Clara. And that voice would be head coach Mike Singletary. Remember when, as he was coaching his first game as interim head coach October 26th of last season? It was against the Seattle Seahawks; while the score was predictable, Singletary’s diatribe and one action of his were memorable. By the way, the coach ejected starting tight end Vernon Davis. His speech after the game? Here are some excerpts:
“I’d rather play with 10 people and just get penalized all the way until we have to do something else rather than play with 11 when I know right now that person is not sold out to be a part of this team.”
“It is more about them than it is about the team. Cannot play with them, cannot win with them, cannot coach with them. Can’t do it. I want winners. I want people that want to win.”
Suffice it to say, Singletary is the anti-Mike Nolan. In other words, the current 49ers head coach isn’t going to take any crap from any player on his team, no matter who he is. Davis found out the hard way last October. Which brings us to Crabtree.
Let’s chronologize this. Crabtree has missed 45 consecutive practices and has threatened – through others naturally – to sit out the season and re-enter the 2010 NFL draft. See a trend developing here? To the team’s credit, they didn’t fall for Crabtree’s psychological bag of tricks at all, although to be fair, Singletary as a rookie linebacker for the Chicago Bears had a “holdout” of his own – for all of three days.
My suggestion to the 49ers’ brass is to continue letting Crabtree act like a 15-year old who just got his PS3 taken away from him and to let coach Singletary continue to be his natural, unadulterated self. It has served the team well as recently as last season. The team will do just fine without Crabtree serving as a distraction. And the fans will respect the team’s ownership for the bold moves.