Crabtree Signs With Team Air Jordan

Michael Crabtree may not have a contract to play football yet. But he's signed his contract saying what kind of shoes he's going to wear when he does play football.

The 49ers rookie superstar-in-waiting has signed with Jordan Brand, a 12-year-old subsidiary of Nike and maker of Air Jordans. For at least Crabtree's early career, he'll be a Nike guy. Financial and time commitment terms of the deal were not made available.

Those of us not familiar with high-end athletic shoe culture might find it kind of strange that Crabtree would sign a shoe deal with the Air Jordan people. After all, we're pretty sure Michael Jordan was actually a basketball player. And we more or less figure Air Jordans to be basketball shoes.

But the Jordan Brand, Nike's corporate moniker for the line of Jordan athletic footwear, has branched out to football, basketball, boxing, track & field, and even motorsports shoes. Nike's Jordan site lists 27 athletes in addition to Michael Jordan who "wear Jordans". 49ers cornerback Dre Bly is on Team Jordan, and had a pair of Air Jordan XIV football cleats designed for himself. 

The buzz question among Nike swoosh enthusiast now must be whether Crabtree will get a "PE", or Player Exclusive shoe. It's a special honor where a player gets a Jordan shoe released in their name and to that player's specifications, usually in team colors.

It should be noted that Crabtree is the only player drafted in the top ten this year who already has a shoe contract. We may not know how Michael Crabtree will perform on the field, but we know he's already a standout among this year's rookies.

Joe Kukura is a freelance writer whose car is worth less than Crabtree's shoes will be.

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