Speaking to reporters for the first time since the end of the 2011 playoffs, Michael Crabtree today said he was running well and without pain. But he didn't seem to understand all the questions about his calf and the time he's missed recently.
Asked if he was frustrated by yet another training camp "cut short," Crabtree turned into the questioner. "How short was it cut this year?" he said. "A week? I'm sure a lot of guys go through that, right? Does everybody go every day of camp? I'm here, man. I ain't missing a beat. I'm here. I don't really think about it as (frustrating). I think about it as football. And whenever I can go, I'm going."
Crabtree had his most extensive practice since injuring his right calf at the end of the first practice of training camp July 27. He was worked in during one-on-one drills, seven on seven and 11-on-11 sessions, and he caught three passes during the latter half. The only part of the practice he didn't take part in was the two-minute drill at the end of the afternoon.
He said he thought he'd be able to play Friday in what would be his first-ever NFL preseason game. "Yeah, I should," he said. "I don't think the (starters) are going (to play) that much Friday. Whatever time they give me, I'll just go out there."
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman was less revealing when asked about Crabtree's availability. "Not going to comment on that," he said. "Talk to coach (Jim Harbaugh). He'll probably say the same thing. (Crabtree's) working through something and we'll have to wait and see and evaluate it. It'll probably be a last minute decision."
Crabtree wasn't combative. But he clearly didn't agree with the line of questioning that suggested that this was the latest in a string of offseasons in which he's been sidetracked. The 10th overall draft pick in 2009 has yet to play in a preseason game. He missed his rookie season with a contract dispute, suffered a neck injury in 2010 and last year was rehabilitating from a broken foot.
Asked if he benefitted from having a full offseason with Alex Smith and the rest of the first-team offense, Crabtree bristled. "It wasn't my first full offseason," he said. "It was good being with Alex and the whole team, and really the new guys that came in. It was really good to be with those guys - (Randy) Moss and (Mario) Manningham and putting everything together. Like I said, I'm here. Whatever they need me to do, I'm just going to do it."
There was a bit of levity when Crabtree was asked what happened to his calf. He said it locked up on him but that he doesn't "know too much about injuries. You'd think I'd know," he said, a smile spreading across his face. "It's always something in football. I'm sure everybody goes through stuff. It was just my calf and I had to stay off of it. I didn't want nothing serious to happen to it, you know?"
Asked if he was frustrated about always having to talk about injuries, Crabtree responded, "Frustrated? I'm just talking, man. I don't like how you use those words, frustrated. Nobody's frustrated. It's football.
"It's part of football," he said. "You see someone injured every day - that's news, you know what I'm saying? It's part of football. It's a physical game and I just know how to deal with it. I've been here, you know? I know how to deal with it. I'm sure you guys know that when they say, hut, I'm going full speed. I'm not worried about that."
-- Matt Barrows