McKenzie: Crabtree ‘the Complete Opposite of What Was Said About Him'

Today is Michael Crabtree's 30th birthday.

So it's only fitting that Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie talked about the wide receiver recently.

"He is a football player. Man, he is just … a football … player," McKenzie told Vic Tafur of The Athletic. "He makes plays and he knows how to do it. He's a natural. I love Crab … I think with him and Marshawn (Lynch), it comes down to the environment.

"First, the locker room. Then the coaches getting their hands on them and making them feel like they are a part of something. Then the organization treating them well. It all goes hand in hand. It's cool."

The 49ers selected Crabtree with the 10th overall pick in the 2009 draft.

He missed the first five games of his rookie season because of a contract dispute, and didn't put up big numbers his first three years.

But in 2012, Crabtree broke out with 85 catches for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns -- all career highs.

Following the 2014 season, Trent Baalke and the 49ers let Crabtree walk in free agency.

The market was not robust, and Crabtree eventually signed a one-year deal with the Raiders, which included only $1.3 million in guarantees.

He re-boosted his value by racking up 85 catches for 922 yards and nine touchdowns in 2015.

McKenzie rewarded Crabtree by giving him a 4-year, $34 million contract, with over $16.5 million guaranteed.

In Year 1 of the deal, he recorded 89 receptions for 1003 yards and eight touchdowns.

Against the Titans last week, he registered six catches for 83 yards.

"Crab was the complete opposite of what was said about him in San Francisco," McKenzie declared.

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