Jerry Rice Discusses Michael Crabtree's Playing Weight

49ers all-world wide receiver Jerry Rice is hosting a Nationwide golf tournament next month in Hayward and he took some time yesterday to chat with the media in a fairly wide-ranging interview. Big thanks to Cam Inman at the San Jose Mercury News for putting together a complete transcript.

In the interview, Rice discussed Peyton Manning and how the 49ers should be looking into signing Manning. We had plenty of Manning discussion yesterday (which is welcome to continue), so I thought I'd focus in on another part of his interview. Jerry Rice is generally considered the greatest wide receiver of all time, so when he says something about the position, it is sure to reverberate with people. After the jump I've pulled out his quotations from

Are you watching on TV to see how Crabtree runs his routes?

"That was something I was always looking for, and I just did not see separation. A lot of times, as route runners, you're always going to see that separation when a quarterback has no hesitation (and) he knows where he wants to go with the ball. That's something I didn't see from the 49ers. Maybe that's part of the game he needs to work on, getting that separation. I was always one of those guys, even though you have receivers big and fast now, I felt I had to be at a certain weight to get my quickness. I don't know exactly what he weighs. He could lose maybe 10 or 15 pounds and be more explosive."

What did you play at?

"I played at 189 (pounds), 190, 200. I always wanted to change, and to be able to control that, there were sacrifices you had to make. When I was at 189 or 190, I felt I could run all day. My thing was about wearing an opponent out. By the fourth quarter, I was always at my best."

Could Crabtree be that explosive guy?

"Yeah but that'll be up to him to make that decision. You have to sacrifice yourself and put your team's best interest at heart. I don't really know the guy so I can't really comment on his work ethic. They feel there's potential there but it'll be up to him to say, ‘I want to be the best receiver I have to be and I'm going to have to sacrifice some things."

You were with him in Dallas before the draft with Deion, but you never got to know him?

"I never did. Maybe because I voiced out and made a comment about Crabtree when he was holding out, and I said he needs to be in there sweating it out with his teammates and let everything else work out. I think ever since then he got offended."

But he's a quiet guy, too, so ...

"He's a little bit different. I never to come in between a man and his money. But I felt he needed to be in there with his team. I voiced that, and after that I could tell he would look at me in a certain way."

He's never played in an exhibition game.

"Would I be surprised that happened again this year? I wouldn't. Maybe he feels he doesn't need to play in the preseason. I looked at preseason as a time to gel with my quarterbacks and teammates, being out there on those hot days and going through it with those guys. I always tried to better myself in training camp and that threw me into the regular season ready to go. I'd have everything sharpened up."

These are some very interesting critiques to say the least. The most interesting aspect is his discussion of how Crabtree could gain some explosiveness if he lost 10 or 15 pounds. Crabtree isn't a "big" guy from a football standpoint, but he's certainly not small. The rules have changed a bit to the point where receivers get a little more leeway, so maybe having additional size isn't quite as big a deal?

What are your thoughts on what Jerry Rice had to say about Michael Crabtree?

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