I remember speaking to a coach in another sport about a year ago and we ended up talking about injuries. I asked which was the more serious ‘common’ injury an athlete can get. I thought it was an ACL. He said it used to be. Times have changed though. Now it was the dreaded achilles.
It’s pretty much an injury that never really goes away. It can go again with relative ease. And it hurts like hell. It’s not impossible to make a full recovery — Demaryius Thomas has shown it can be done. But it’s a tricky one.
San Francisco are the definitive division rival, but I don’t want to see the Seahawks win the NFC West because of an injury advantage. That’s how close the teams are these days. An extra injury here or there could be the difference in 2013. And losing Crabtree is a big one.
Back in 2009 I was desperate for Seattle to draft Crabtree with the fourth overall pick. He wasn’t the fastest or the biggest receiver, but he had everything else. Amazing hands, the ability to catch away from his body, incredible control, the tendency to make difficult grabs in coverage and he was the key component in college football’s most exciting finish to a game in 2008 (Texas vs Texas Tech — not RS freshman Earl Thomas’ finest hour). Crabtree was a star in the making. I felt positive about that.
I remember shouting loudly and angrily at the screen when the Seahawks snubbed the best player in the draft for Aaron Curry. It’s easy to sit here and say that now, I guess. Yet it still hurts to this day. I remember getting excited that the reliable Mike Mayock had included Crabtree at #4 in his last gasp mock draft. I remember the split screen of Curry and Crabtree in the green room. I remember the blood curdling shout I made that probably woke the neighbours up when Curry’s name was called. It wasn’t a good day.
(I also just remembered that was a time before Twitter. Remember those days?)
Instead the Seahawks went safe — overpaying for an old veteran (T.J. Houshmandzadeh) at receiver. Crabtree was too risky for Tim Ruskell. He hadn’t worked out due to a metatarsal injury and there were some lingering character issues — although nothing too specific. Forget the fact Seattle was desperate for a dynamic receiver to help the ageing Matt Hasselbeck. Let’s spend over $100m on three linebackers instead.
*Stops rant because we’ve done this a million times already*
I think Crabtree should be a Seahawk right now. I think he’d fit very well as the bigger target in this offense. And I think a coach like Pete Carroll would’ve got the best out of him, much in the way Jim Harbaugh has in San Francisco. It’s no surprise either that when the 49ers had a settled offense and quarterback, Crabtree has played like the top receiver many expected he would be. Crabtree — just like Alex Smith — suffered with the bad leadership and constant change that franchise endured pre-Harbaugh.
Last year he struck up an instant connection with Colin Kaepernick and they threatened to become one of the best — if not the best — QB/WR combo’s in the league. So while it’s obviously good news for the NFC West and NFC in general that Crabtree may miss the season, nobody should take any satisfaction from that. You should want to beat the best to be the best. And that means facing San Francisco with the Kaepernick-to-Crabtree connection.
You build emotional attachment’s to players you respect in the draft process. Crabtree, even as a 49er, has my respect. And hopefully he’ll be back quickly for future battle’s with Richard Sherman and co.
Oh, and by the way, Jesse Williams can jump.