SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Michael Crabtree speaks.
OK, so maybe that doesn’t sound like big news, but until Thursday, the San Francisco 49ers wide receiver had given reporters the silent treatment this summer. He hadn’t spoken formally since a session with the media on Aug. 1, the opening day of training camp.
And he certainly avoided the spotlight in the aftermath of a heated practice-field dispute last week with tight end Vernon Davis that was mediated by coach Mike Singletary.
“Ah, man, it was just something inside, you know?” Crabtree said during a 10-minute interview session in the team locker room. “Something I just really don't want to talk about it because it's not a problem. By me talking about it, it's going to make it a problem. It's nothing.”
On Wednesday, Singletary said there were no lingering effects over the altercation, and by Thursday it seemed that Davis and Crabtree had mended fences. While Crabtree spoke to reporters, Davis walked by, rubbed his teammate’s head and said, “Michael, good to see you, buddy.”
For the Niners, it will be good to see Crabtree in uniform and on the field Sunday in the season opener against the Seattle Seahawks. He did not play in any of the four preseason games and missed a significant amount of practice time because of a neck strain. It was assumed that Davis was critical of Crabtree for not taking part in team drills, leading to their argument.
Although quarterback Alex Smith said valuable time was lost between the two, Crabtree dismissed the notion that timing might be a problem on Sunday.
“There's no concern,” he said. “We've done a lot up to this point. What we've done is what we're going to have going into this next game. I'm feeling very comfortable. You can ask Alex. We feel comfortable with what we're doing.”
But there could be a problem with conditioning, offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye said.
“My biggest concern with him is not knowledge of the system as much it is conditioning,” Raye said. “He hasn’t played at game speed in any of the exhibition games, and even though a year ago he was not here, he was conditioning. This time, he was here but not getting any conditioning, and there’s a different tempo from not playing and practicing and going into play.”
Asked if he was concerned about conditioning, Crabtree said: “I'm not worried about nothing. I'm just worried about getting all my plays in in practice, really going out there and playing. I'm getting really tired of talking about what's going to happen. We just need to go out there and play.”
Of course, the 49ers have spent all summer waiting for him to play. Sunday, that’s what he’ll finally be doing.
“I'm very excited,” he said. “I can't wait to put everything together and just go out there and play. There's been a lot of talk about what we're going to do or what we can do. I just feel we need to go out there and do it.”
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