Michael Crabtree made his way out to Santa Clara earlier today. He had a tour of the facilities and followed that with a press conference. I definitely think Crabtree has no problem handling the press. Maybe that's more of his "diva"-ishness!
RE: Are you the best player in the entire 2009 draft?
“I try to be. I strive to be. I like to work hard and try to be the best.”
RE: You’ve just heard what your new coach expects out of you. What do you expect out of yourself?
“Just to do what I’ve been doing since college, since high school: working hard every day, looking to my coach and, whatever the game plan is, go out there and execute the best way we can.”
Given all the posts this weekend, I've moved most of this after the jump.
RE: You have the number 15. Did you have any influence on that and is there any story behind it?
“I’ve always worn 15, 5 or 10. I had to really think about it. I had 5 in college and I just decided to add the 1 in front of it.”
RE: Where do you plan on taking that jersey?
“Where do I plan on taking it?”
RE: To what heights?
“I never know. Like I said, I live by work. The harder I work, the better the results are.”
RE: What makes a receiver play better?
“It’s going out there and playing football. You watch it on film. The coaches really are a big part of being a playmaker and utilizing that playmaker. And just watching a lot of people just try and be the best.”
RE: What NFL players did you work with in the offseason to work on your skills? What did you learn from those guys?
“During the offseason? Deion [Sanders] had a camp and we had a couple guys out there – a lot of [veterans], [inaudible] and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, all those guys. You learn little things – keeping your shoulders down and not skimming your routes - like we do in college. There’s some other things you can learn.”
RE: Did you meet Jerry Rice at that one point at the Deion camp? What was that meeting like?
“It was like a motivational meeting – just really telling me to keep my head, keep a level head, keep up what I’ve been doing. I learned a lot from him.”
RE: It seems like you’ve been through the ringer in this whole process with everybody nitpicking your game. How’d you feel during that whole process?
“I felt good. One thing I’ve learned is just be patient and be yourself. Can’t go wrong with those.”
RE: Did you let any of that stuff get to you?
“No, I actually had fun in New York. It was my first time in New York with my family and friends. I put everything else aside and just followed my heart.”
RE: The catch you made against Texas to win one of the biggest college games of your 2008 season. I remember during that game, you had to go out with your ankle and it just says a lot about your drive and determination. Can you talk about that a little bit? How much did we see there to make that happen – get back out there in a big situation even though you were hurting that bad?
“That’s part of being a football player, because you’re always going to have nicks and that. It’s just how strong you are, how determined you are, to go out there and play the game of football. I was very determined.”
RE: Is there anything you attribute your good hands to?
“When I was younger, my brother used to throw the ball as hard as he can. He’s six years older than me. And I got tired of catching it with my chest – it was kind of hurting my chest. So I started using my hands more. It turned around some.”
RE: What is your brother’s name?
RE: Did Jerry give you any suggestions about playing the game or was it more motivational?
“More motivational. We didn’t get into detail, but I appreciated him there.”
RE: Do you expect to carry on a dialog once you get settled here? He only lives a few miles away.
“Him or any of those guys, I can learn from anybody, even people that are currently playing now. I just can’t wait to get out there with my teammates and have some fun.”
RE: Obviously Jerry set the standards for everybody playing in the NFL. Does it mean anything to you playing for the team that he played for and set the standard before?
“Yes – big shoes to fill. It’s kind of like a challenge. But you know I’m just happy to be here; happy to be in the National Football League and there’s not too much you can say about that.”
RE: You went to Texas Tech, you had been a quarterback in high school. At what point did you realize that you had the chance to become an elite receiver?
“Probably it was during that time. It was last year when it felt like I was playing above my level in the college level. I felt like I had kind of mastered it. Once I start seeing two and three people covering me, I felt like I needed a bigger challenge. I talked to my family and we got straight to the point, and I’m here – I’m a 49er now.”
RE: Even in the four- or five-receiver sets of the spread, you still got double or triple covered?
“Yeah. Probably about every game.”
RE: Can you talk a little bit about what happened in that 2006 year? You were a quarterback at a football factory high school and then all of a sudden you were smashing freshman records right off the bat. Is that really where it happened for you?
“Went through a little setback. I was initially going to play the X receiver and I was going to start, but a transfer … it just came. It’s just a little adversity. I was sitting at home thinking, what did it take for my team to be the best team. I just set aside everything else and start focusing on what I needed to do to get better.”
RE: Did anything happen for you physically or mentally?
“I did a lot – I did everything. Running. Watching all the film I can. I love film. I stay in the film room. I was just trying to do anything to make me better.”
RE: Mike Leach described you as shy and reserved. Is that accurate?
“As soon as I got to college, I didn’t really want to do interviews or nothing like that because I didn’t ever want to be labeled as a talker. I always wanted my field play to speak for itself. I had to get used to it. It’s something that every NFL player has to do. I’m just really having fun with it.”
RE: Are you planning on having more interviews with the media?
“Whatever it takes.”
RE: Did that shyness disappear on the field at different times on game days?
“On game days, I’m a football player. So there are a lot of things that are going to be different. There’s a lot of things, really, you don’t talk about. You just do it.”
RE: Do you need a certain amount of swagger on the field to be a big-time receiver?
“You could just be a football player. I love interacting with my teammates. That’s the most fun part. Messing with my lineman and my DBs and just having fun with your team and going out there and playing another team. It’s a different feeling.”
RE: What about messing with the guys on the other side of the ball?
“I really don’t too much get into that. I focus on doing my job and doing it the best way I can. I really don’t have time to talk to opposing teams. Sometimes we have fun with it.”
RE: The 49ers took a couple of offensive players early on, Glen Coffee and quarterback Nate Davis. Did you ever get a chance to see him play?
“Nate Davis, I like Nate Davis. I’m looking forward to meeting – having fun with him up here at the 49ers facility. Him and Coffee. All of those guys. We’re a part of a team now. It’s sort of like my family now.”
RE: When you say you like him, does that mean his game?
“I like his game. I know him personally too. I’ve talked to him a couple of times. He’s a good dude. Hopefully he’ll be a good quarterback one day.”
RE: Are there any unusual aspects of your training regimen?
“No. I try to stick to the footballs, with what we do on the field. I might catch some tennis balls or something. That’s the only different thing I would do. Everything else is pretty much the same.”
RE: What does that mean, catch tennis balls?
“Catching tennis balls?”
“One, two hands. Just trying to see the ball the whole way. It’s something I’ll do. It’s something I’ve learned.”
RE: When was that suit picked out for our first day as a professional football player?
“This suit was picked out a long time ago. It’s crazy, I’m matching. I guess everything worked out perfect.”
RE: Are you familiar with the Bay Area?
“I’ve heard a lot about the Bay Area. One thing I like is the weather. It’s good weather out here. I just can’t wait to put my uniform on and just run down the field.”
RE: When will the time be when you can run down the field?
“Pretty soon. It’s up to my trainer now. I’m in the hands of the 49ers, so, it’s whatever they want from me.”
RE: Is that screw going to stay in your foot?
“I have no idea. I’m sure it will. Probably later on down the road I might do something different. But, right now, it’s in my foot, and I’m ready to go.”
RE: You had a large group with you in New York yesterday. Are any family members going to come out here and help you get set up or live with you?
“No. They’re all staying in Dallas. That’s their home base. I like to have fun with my family. I’m going to have them forever. It’s a good deal.”
RE: Who’s with you today?
“My dad and my best friend [inaudible].”
RE: The 49ers just went through a new redesign, as a fashion-conscious guy, what do you think of the new duds?
“It’s nice. I can’t wait to see what the all white look, all those colors. That’s my favorite part is getting dressed. I can’t wait.”