Crabtree Enjoying a Fresh Start With Raiders

Former 49ers wide receiver has gained a big fan in quarterback Derek Carr, but says he needs to prove himself again

Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree has admitted he has some work to do with his new team.

After playing six seasons for the 49ers, Crabtree has moved across the bay and is trying to re-energize a career that started to go flat last season. Two seasons after an 85-catch, 1,105-yard, nine-touchdown year in 2012, when he averaged 13 yards per reception, Crabtree had just 68 catches and averaged only 10.3 yards. In some games, he seemed absent from the 49ers passing attack.

Now he’s starting fresh with Oakland on a free-agent deal and will get going in earnest when the team opens training camp in late July.

“I have a lot to prove,” Crabtree told the San Francisco Chronicle this spring. “A lot to prove. Ain’t got nothing to lose and have a lot to prove.”

So far, he’s been doing just that with his new teammates and coaches. They like what they’ve seen of Crabtree in offseason practices. He’s penciled in as one starting wideout alongside rookie Amari Cooper.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is a big fan.

“Crabtree has been awesome, not only just on the field, but in the locker room,” Carr said in a recent interview. “He’s such a great teammate. I love the guy.”

Crabtree isn’t the deep-threat receiver that some once envisioned he would be, but he has terrific hands, finds open spots in the secondary and is an exceptional blocker downfield – often a big factor in the 49ers’ running game over the past few seasons. He’s also what Carr calls a “football junkie.”

“We’re always talking about the game,” said Carr. “We’re always talking ball. We’re always talking routes, concepts and what we’re going to do during the game.”

Crabtree says the change of scenery was strange at first, but now he is comfortable and happy in silver and black.

“I can’t wait to go play,” he said.

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