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Michael Crabtree Sees 2014 as 'Test' for 49ers

Posted Aug 15, 2014

The sixth-year San Francisco 49ers receiver caught four passes in his first practice at Levi's® Stadium.

Michael Crabtree caught four passes, three from Colin Kaepernick, in his practice return on Friday night.

Afterwards, the sixth-year San Francisco 49ers wide receiver revealed the cause of his two-week absence from training camp: a hamstring injury.

So will a 100-percent Crabtree make his preseason debut this Sunday in San Francsico's preseason opener against the Denver Broncos?

"Whatever coach says," the play-making wideout said after his first on-field work at Levi's® Stadium.

Crabtree recognized that his return took place at a slowed-down practice tempo, but be did appreciate getting back on the field with the first-team offense.

"We've got a lot of work to do," Crabtree said, "but that’s what practice is for, really just getting that feel for it. Coming in this camp like this, we have a lot of things to correct from last year.

"We’re really just trying to get better. The receivers, tight ends, everybody."

Crabtree got in rhythm early in the team's second of three public practices viewed by 10,000 fans in attendance. He caught a 15-yard skinny post pattern from Kaepernick to get his night rolling. Crabtree beat second-year cornerback Darryl Morris' coverage on the play. Crabtree later caught a deep drag route from Kaepernick, slipping behind Shayne Skov's coverage in the deep middle of the field.

Crabtree later caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Josh Johnson on a quick out in a red-zone team period. Crabtree also beat rookie Kenneth Acker on the play and later got past the fifth-round draft pick to catch another quick out.

Crabtree's quick burst at the line of scrimmage, something that was apparent in the first week of camp, looked like it was back at the night practice. Helping matters is Crabtree's weight. He said he's down to somewhere between 210 and 215 pounds. Crabtree estimated that he was 220-plus pounds last season when he returned to the field six months after a torn Achilles.

"Last year I wasn’t 100 percent," Crabtree said. "A lot of guys forget about that. They forget about your percent. I wasn’t 100 percent last year, but this year is a different story."

The healthy receiver said he's focused on helping the 49ers any way he can.

"Whatever plan coach has for us," Crabtree said. "I’m just here to execute. I’m just planning to get better."

So if San Francisco adopts a pass-first approach for the upcoming season, would that please Crabtree?

"If we’re going to spread it out, we’ll spread it out," he said. "If we’re going to power run it, we’ll power run it. I’m just one of those guys where all you have to do is tell me, ‘Go.’"

Crabtree has a lot of motivation for the upcoming season. He's entering the final year of his rookie contract and more importantly, he wants to win a Super Bowl with the team that made him a first-round draft pick in 2009.

"I feel like we should win all those big games," Crabtree said. "This year is a test. How are we going to do? How are we going to come back? Are we going to come back stronger? All I can do is be all I can be.

"I’m trying to be one of the best out here. I see a lot of people talking this and that, but when you turn that film on, you see football players. You see guys with heart. You see guys who aren’t scared of nobody. That’s what I bring to the game."

Crabtree finished his media gathering with one more positive quote.

"It’s going to be an exciting year," he said. "I can’t wait to go out there."


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