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49ers Wide Receiver History: Terrell Owens and Jerry Rice Thank You Very Much

Last night, while watching the Bengals and Steelers on Monday Night Football, Terrell Owens impressive performance got me thinking about wide receivers and the San Francisco 49ers. TO finished the game with 10 receptions for 141 yards and 2 touchdowns and was a key reason the Bengals almost came back last night. His combination of size, speed, and improved hands put him in a position to make play after play after play. He showed it all as he made nice over the shoulder touchdown grabs, he provided some excellent possession receptions more or less boxing out defenders, and he held onto a ball after getting blasted by safety Troy Polamalu.

TO is in the midst of quite the resurgence as he is on pace for one of the five best seasons of his career. Eight games into his 15th NFL season, Owens is currently fifth all time in receptions, second in receiving yards, third in receiving touchdowns, and fifth in total touchdowns. I know some may disagree as to how high Owens ranks among all wide receivers, but I would say it's an absolute fact that Terrell Owens has been one of the best receivers in NFL history.

I bring all this up simply because it amazes me that the 49ers drafted two of the greatest receivers in NFL history. Rice is the greatest and TO is one of the all time greats at wide receiver. It remains to be seen whether Michael Crabtree will join the pantheon of great wide receivers in 49ers history, but he's off to a very solid start.

I was amused earlier this season when folks were absolutely dogging Crabtree's abilities and stating the team should trade him. I understand if you don't like his attitude or felt the draft choice was unnecessary given other holes on the team. Those are reasonable arguments even if I disagree. However, to say Michael Crabtree is nothing more than a glorified possession receiver or that he really isn't all that good (as some folks stated around here earlier in the season) is just plain wrong.

It remains to be seen whether Crabtree emerges as a great receiver in this league, but he certainly has many of the necessary tools to make it happen. He showed some decent chemistry with Troy Smith last week in London, and if Smith ends up starting this Sunday and potentially going beyond, it will be interesting to see if that chemistry leads to bigger numbers for Crabtree.