Thursday saw the 49ers wrapped up what has affectionately been called "Camp Alex." The players-only minicamp features almost the entire starting offense on hand for a mix of classroom work and on-field implementation as the 49ers try to somehow get prepared for the upcoming season.
The story most everybody really seems concerned with this week has been the relationship between Alex Smith and Michael Crabtree. They've each made some comments to the media that would indicate a possible disconnect between the two of them. Naturally that has led to some discord here at Niners Nation as there has been a fairly definitive line drawn in the sand when it comes to Michael Crabtree.
Thankfully, Alex Smith addressed the situation with the media today. While you can give as much or as little weight to these comments as you'd like, it's certainly better than nobody saying anything to anybody.
There had been some reports that Smith and Crabtree had "cleared the air" in private, although nothing particularly specific was mentioned at that point. All the beat writers have posted the news and their thoughts on the issue, but for now I'll link to Dan Brown who posted a partial transcript of Smith's comments. Smith got right to the crux of the matter in discussing his own comment a couple weeks back about how he wasn't the guy to ask why Crabtree wasn't at the workouts:
I felt like when I got asked about him a couple of weeks ago, I didn't want to speak on his behalf. When I kept getting asked why he wasn't out here, I really didn't want to speak on his behalf. I really thought I was doing the right thing. I thought I was going about things the right way.
Then all of a sudden it comes out in the paper. And I read it the next day and I was really disgusted with myself with the way it came out. It looked like a jab. I called him up and talked to him and apologized. I think he kind of felt the same way a few days ago.
He also addressed the issue of Crabtree sitting out with sore feet. He mentioned the fact that Crabtree had foot problems coming out of Texas Tech that resulted in missed workout time leading up to the 2009 draft. Given the distance in time, it's hard to say these injuries are related, but I'd like to think the general level of concern is related. It could be complete BS. I get that. But consider me ever the optimist...or you can just call me a shill for Crabtree I suppose.
Basically, Smith stated that he and Crabtree have gotten along off the field since day one, but that they have some work to do to develop better chemistry on the field when the season gets going:
Smith: Timing and things like that, we're going to have time for that. The last thing I wanted was guys pushing their bodies to the point of an injury.
Media question: There are two other guys who are hurt but observed practice. Any thought that Crabtree should have come out to at least observe?
You know, that's up to him. Dominique (Zeigler) is injured and flew out because he wanted to be part of this. Obviously, you'd love to have him out for that. Michael came down for all the classroom sessions. He wanted to learn. He wanted to be ready to go whenever this thing gets going.
He's done the right things. I just think a lot of this has been blown out a little bit.
So yes, Smith does think it was blown out of proportion. If I had to guess, I'd say this comes down to a little bit of it actually being blown out of proportion, and also Smith showing a willingness to fall on the sword. I doubt this will be the end of commentary on this issue, but hopefully it's put to bed for at least a little bit. Or maybe I shouldn't really hold my breath.