Michael Crabtree doesn’t speak to the media all that often, which is a shame because he’s a unique, interesting guy who’s a lot more honest than most.
“This year is a test,” he said after Friday evening’s practice, which marked the first time he participated in full in a little over two weeks.
“What are we going to do? How are we going to come back? Are we going to come back stronger? All I can do is get the receiver/quarterback connection the best that we can be. I’m trying to go to the top. I’m trying to be one of the best out here.”
Last year he wasn’t at his best when he returned in Week 13 against the Rams.
“I was fast enough to be on the field. But I wasn’t me. You guys have been here long enough. I’m going on is my sixth year. You know when I’m at my best. You know when I ain’t looking right,” said Crabtree.
But the 49ers were desperate for a productive receiver other than Anquan Boldin, and he obliged.
“I was like 230 pounds, 228 pounds. Six months, I just came off Achilles and jumped in the game. That was just for my team, whatever coach needed from me. They said guys were struggling, so whatever I could add, whatever I could bring to the table,” Crabtree said.
“Last year I wasn’t 100%. A lot of guys forget about that. Just because you go out there and you’re playing, they forget about your percentage. I wasn’t 100% last year. But this year is a different story.”
In June Boldin said, “You can expect to see the old crab.” Part of that is due to the extra recovery time, but he also came to camp looking noticeably thinner.
“That’s a credit to my offseason trainer. I didn’t lay off this summer. All I did was work. A lot of work, man. Trying to get stronger, trying to get faster, smarter,” said Crabtree, who worked with 49ers strength coach Mark Uyeyama and Bennie Wylie, his trainer at Texas Tech.
“I went back to my roots,” he said.
Crabtree’s highly motivated offseason was rooted in two specific areas. First, 2014 is a contract year. Second, the Seattle Seahawks got the best of the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, and the Richard Sherman angle has gotten more than a little bit of play in the months since.
“I see a lot of people talking about this and that,” he said.
“When you turn that film on, you see football players. You see some guys that play with heart, you see guys that ain’t scared of nobody. That’s what I bring to the game. It’s going to be an exciting year. I can’t wait to get out there.”