Just got off the phone with Texas Tech coach Mike Leach. I think it's safe to say that Leach has crossed Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini off his Christmas Card list. This is what I mean: Leach had just gotten on a conference call when he described his pupil, new 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree, as someone who fled from the spotlight and as someone without "a bunch of distractions going on." That, of course, is the polar opposite of how Crabtree's been portrayed in the last few weeks. Leach obviously believed that rumors as to Crabtree's diva-ish behavior orginated in Cleveland with the Browns head coach.
"Michael Crabtree has been more successful as a receiver than that guy has a coach at this point," Leach said. " ... Part of the reason is he's (Crabtree) too shy to be like that."
Said Leach: "My definition of a diva is someone who's loud and self-absorbed. Michael Crabtree is the furthest thing from loud that I've seen."
As evidence, Leach noted that the tape he had on Crabtree blocking in the running game was better than the tape of Crabtree making catches. "I think it's one of the strongest parts of the game," Leach said. "I mean, to the point where it's impressive."
Leach described Crabtree as the "ultimate team player who would serve the 49ers well." As for Mangini? "Let's see how all those non-divas do up in Cleveland this year," Leach said.
-- Matt Barrows