Texas Tech junior wide receiver Detron Lewis hasn't talked to former teammate Michael Crabtree since two days before last spring's NFL Draft. But he sure will be glad when Crabtree signs his contract with the San Francisco 49ers.
"We need him to play and I want him to play,'' Lewis said. "I don't know what's going on.''
Crabtree, the 10th pick in the draft, is currently mired in a contract stalemate with 49ers management. The Niners have offered Crabtree a five-year, $21 million contract, but he wants something closer to what wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey got from the Oakland Raiders.
As the seventh pick of the draft, Heyward-Bey was awarded a five-year, $38.5 million contract, with $23.5 million of it guaranteed. As a two-time winner of the Biletnikoff Award _ an honor that goes to the nation's top wide receiver _ Crabtree and the folks in his camp believe it's only fair that the 49ers give him something akin to Heyward-Bey money.
Meanwhile, Lewis said he and the other Tech receivers were hoping Crabtree would go out and prove that he's more than just a product of coach Mike Leach's system.
"I was looking at when he got drafted and I was thinking, depending on the year he had (with the 49ers), that would help a lot of our receivers out,'' Lewis said. "That's because basically when we come out they think we're just "system'' receivers anyway.''
It's up to Crabtree to prove that theory wrong. Once he gets his contract signed.
_ Dwain Price