NFL: 49ers unsure when they’ll see Crabtree
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — San Francisco coach Mike Singletary won’t be surprised if top draft pick Michael Crabtree hasn’t agreed to a contract with the 49ers before training camp opens this weekend.
After holding out at least twice during his own playing career, Singletary knows such tactics are just part of the game.
“It’s the same way every year,” Singletary said Tuesday. “It’s important for the rookies to get in, but I know there’s the business side of it that they have to handle. But my side always stays the same, and it’s football, and it’s winning, and it’s developing our guys. I’m going to continue to go forward with that.”
The 49ers rookies reported to the club’s training complex Tuesday, but Crabtree wasn’t among them. The record-setting receiver from Texas Tech was the 10th overall pick in the NFL draft by San Francisco after he unexpectedly slipped several slots on draft day.
San Francisco is in talks with Crabtree’s agent, Eugene Parker, but the sides don’t appear to be close to a deal. Several of Parker’s clients have held out in recent years, and he’s reportedly seeking a contract worth more than the usual salary slot for a No. 10 pick.
Singletary can relate to that tactic: He held out as a rookie with the Chicago Bears because the second-round pick felt he should have gone in the first round, and therefore should be compensated appropriately.
“So yes, I held out for a week,” he said.
Crabtree also missed the 49ers’ offseason minicamps and their organized team activities while recovering from a foot injury, but was a regular presence at the training complex for rehabilitation and strengthening workouts.
He also participated in regular throwing drills with quarterbacks Alex Smith and Shaun Hill. They both reported to camp Tuesday to get a jump on their competition for the starting spot, along with the installation of San Francisco’s seventh new offense in seven seasons.
Singletary praised Crabtree’s work ethic Tuesday, saying the receiver undoubtedly was working out on his own.
“I’m very excited about the fact that we have him,” Singletary said. “And I’m hopeful that at some point in time, he’s here. And at that particular time, we will move forward.”
Singletary is eager to get started on his first training camp since taking over the 49ers midway through last season, the franchise’s sixth consecutive losing campaign. He thinks his returning players won’t notice many changes from their camps under fired coach Mike Nolan — although Singletary already made a change to the practice fields by building a small hill to be used in conditioning drills.
“I don’t know about old school,” Singletary said of his approach. “Old school, new school, we are just going to work. We are just going to get it done.”