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Jim Harbaugh: Michael Crabtree has the best hands I’ve ever seen

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Jim Harbaugh was a teammate of Marvin Harrison’s for two years. He was an assistant coach on a Raiders team that had Jerry Rice and Tim Brown. He was a contemporary of Steve Largent and Cris Carter. As a boy who loved football he surely grew up watching Fred Biletnikoff and Lynn Swann. He’s no doubt watched NFL Films footage of Raymond Berry. In his first year as the 49ers’ head coach his team played against Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson. He’s seen many great wide receivers with great hands.

And apparently he’s had a bad case of amnesia that made him forget all of that.

That’s the only possible explanation for the statement Harbaugh made about his own receiver on the 49ers, Michael Crabtree, who according to Harbaugh has better hands than any of those receivers, or any other receiver he has ever watched play in a lifetime around the game of football.

Crab’s got the best hands I’ve ever seen on a wide receiver,” Harbaugh said on KNBR-680, via CSNBayArea.com.

Sure, Crabtree is a talented receiver who had his best season yet last year with 72 catches, but saying Crabtree has the best hands he’s ever seen just sounds crazy, not to mention a little insulting to the many great receivers Harbaugh has seen in person through the years. Perhaps Harbaugh just wants to show Crabtree that his coach is confident in him, and he’s willing to go a little overboard to express that confidence.

That’s the explanation I’ll go with when Harbaugh says Alex Smith has the best arm he’s ever seen.

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81 Responses to “Jim Harbaugh: Michael Crabtree has the best hands I’ve ever seen”
  1. jdandcoke says: May 19, 2012 11:28 AM

    apparently he hasnt watched hakeem nicks play.

  2. lolb23 says: May 19, 2012 11:29 AM

    “He’s also got nice feet” added Rex Ryan

  3. skoobyfl says: May 19, 2012 11:29 AM

    Sounds like a homer coach to me.

  4. brewdogg says: May 19, 2012 11:31 AM

    In related news, PFT is the best place for up-to-date and unbiased football news.

  5. nflfollower says: May 19, 2012 11:32 AM

    Time to use those hands in games I guess.

  6. bchapman2011 says: May 19, 2012 11:32 AM

    Every year his receiving yards have increased by about 100 yards. Nice progress but he needs to take the leap and become and break the 1000 yard barrier. Moss should take alot of the pressure off of him.

  7. daknight93 says: May 19, 2012 11:33 AM

    it’s just one of his motivational ploys to boost Crabtree self-esteem…deep down he knows crabtree doesn’t have great hands…I wonder how Moss and other receivers think of Harbargh’s comments

  8. dondada10 says: May 19, 2012 11:35 AM

    Crab many very well have the best hands Harbaugh has ever seen, but it takes more than just hands to be great.

  9. sweetzinger says: May 19, 2012 11:35 AM

    He actually does.

    But he can’t jump like Calvin Johnson.
    He can’t fight for the ball in the air like Larry Fitzgerald.
    And he can’t run fast worth a s**t.

  10. eagles107 says: May 19, 2012 11:39 AM

    Crabtree has the best hands he’s ever seen …. That’s laughable Marvin Harrison has arguably one of the top 5 hands in the history of the NFL…. Crabtree drops too many passes to have any where near the top hands in the league let alone the best Harbaugh ever seen…. If he did have the best hands I would think he would have caught at least 1 pass in the NFC championship game but then again hands do mean much when you don’t have a QB

  11. goldrush36 says: May 19, 2012 11:41 AM

    Lmfao. Ok Crabtree may very well have great hans, but thats going a little too far. He has poor concentration and work ethic so it leads to circus catch ability but then it gets followed up by numerouscritical drops that should be easy receptions. If he had half the work ethoc of Fotz or Megatron he would be among the elite receivers but you cant coast through the nfl like he did college ball. The competotion is tough

  12. rickastleydancemoves says: May 19, 2012 11:41 AM

    If only he could seperate, he’d be one of the best RECEIVERS in football. I guess the 40 yard dash isn’t overrated. I’d hate my team if they drafted a possession receiver with the 10th pick overall.

  13. bryguy39 says: May 19, 2012 11:41 AM

    Cris Carter , by far had the best hands in the NFL, even better then Jerry Rice. Just not the qb’s that Rice had to throw to him!

  14. kwgator says: May 19, 2012 11:42 AM

    Best Hands? John Travolta may want Crabtree’s phone number

  15. liondoc says: May 19, 2012 11:42 AM

    and Jim Schwartz has the best hands he has ever seen on a coach

  16. greenmachin3 says: May 19, 2012 11:43 AM

    Actually, Michael does have a great pair of hands. He makes just about all of his catches look soft and he knows how to transition after a catch.

    Now when he first entered the league with the ‘diva’ tag, I was one that did not like him. But after a couple of years he has finally has my respect as a football player.

    He is nowhere to be a great WR yet, but after a few more years of experience he will definitely have his craft down.

    I recommend you should watch this clip and definitely take a look at the catch @ 1:55 in the video.

  17. cali49er707 says: May 19, 2012 11:43 AM

    young solid o-line, great coaching, solid run game with a stable of RB’s, sound special teams, stud defense with a playmaker at every level, weapons on that outside and two tight ends that can start just about anywhere, a quarterback who just needs to manage the game and not hurt the team & by the way nobody is asking alex smith to throw for 5,000 yards , sounds like a superbowl winning formula to all you jealous haters about to post!!!!

  18. raiderrob21 says: May 19, 2012 11:45 AM

    This ranks right up there with some of the craziest things ever said in sports. Crabs hands are so good they went out and got Randy Moss and Mario Manningham in FA. Also drafted a WR in the 1st rd! This guy with the so called best hands ever, may not even start. Aside from that….LOOK WHOS THROWING THEM THE FOOTBALL!!!
    Trent Dilfer reincarnated.

  19. canadianvikingfaniii says: May 19, 2012 11:47 AM

    He is just trying to hype him up and boost his confidence. Cris Carter, Randy Moss and Jerry Rice all had way better hands.

  20. shaggytoodle says: May 19, 2012 11:51 AM

    SO maybe he could be use as a hand model in infomercials or something, but he wouldn’t last, because he would keep dropping stuff.

  21. demolition510 says: May 19, 2012 11:53 AM

    I’m a raider fan, but I like JH as a coach. Having said that, it’s comments like those that are stupid. Stop sucking up to you player. Aren’t you suppose to be the hard-nosed guy?

    Hands mean nothing if you don’t have the attitude and work ethic.

  22. musicman495 says: May 19, 2012 11:53 AM

    Huh?

  23. bigsuede says: May 19, 2012 11:53 AM

    Whoever thinks the comment is crazy- just hasn’t been paying attention to the niners or Crabs career. The guy was a top 10 pick even though he is slow and can’t get seperation.

    He is a #1 receiver based SOLEY on his hands. He can catch everything. But most casual fans only saw his playoff games where he was well covered and dropped a few passes. If you watch him over the three years- he has great hands.

  24. waitingguilty says: May 19, 2012 11:54 AM

    He’s got nothing on Costanza.

  25. nfl1818 says: May 19, 2012 11:56 AM

    MY hands are insane but Im 30 lbs overweight, too old, too slow, dont know the plays, have terrible concentration and am afraid of being hit. Further I have a serious drinking problem when Im not relaxing with bong hits. Usually I am hungover. I think it helps me deal with th epressure of 4th Qrtr drives. btw – i am really pissed off about my contract.

  26. cooklynn17 says: May 19, 2012 11:58 AM

    Then how come he can’t catch anything but a cold?

  27. fumblenuts says: May 19, 2012 12:11 PM

    Jim Harbaugh: Coach Jim Schwartz has the BEST handshake in pro football.

  28. strongsidebacker says: May 19, 2012 12:11 PM

    Million dollar hands and a nickle head…..

  29. goldrush36 says: May 19, 2012 12:13 PM

    Rob as long as the faiders have Darius Heyward BUST you may just want to pipe down about bad hands

  30. godblessfootball says: May 19, 2012 12:17 PM

    Seems as though Harbaugh is propping up Crabtree in order to receive max value for a trade.

  31. rockthered1286 says: May 19, 2012 12:19 PM

    Harbaugh then went on to say Kyle Williams has the 2nd best hands he’s ever seen.

  32. goldrush36 says: May 19, 2012 12:24 PM

    @jdandcoke….. Umm Nicks was 33rd in receptions per drop in the league. Cruz was 35th Crabtree 28th oops.

  33. jameslongstaffe says: May 19, 2012 12:31 PM

    I have been around football my whole life, and have followed with a passion for the last 25 years. I am lucky to have football 8 months of the year… if we are talking pure soft hands, the best I have seen are with Ben Cahoon, who played 13 seasons with the Montreal Alouettes but is now retired. He was not fast, but he was tough & caught every ball that touched his hands. It was very discouraging to watch lol

  34. hyzers says: May 19, 2012 12:31 PM

    This is almost as funny as when Harbaugh was acting like he won the Super Bowl in the locker room after beating Detroit by 6 on the last play of the game (25-19 I think the score was)…

    “That was the best defensive performance I HAVE EVER SEEN!!!!1!11!1″

  35. sirninjalot says: May 19, 2012 12:32 PM

    Harbaugh added…They are soft and tender like Crab’s eyes…you get lost in them.

    So we added two wrs and drafted AJ Jenkins in the first…ANDY REID-LIKE TRADE VALUE SMOKESCREEN!

  36. rmc1995 says: May 19, 2012 12:35 PM

    You know when someone mentions Lynn Swann before John Stallworth they are easily influenced by hype and what NFL Films wants them to believe.

  37. goldrush36 says: May 19, 2012 12:36 PM

    Oh you also have pick six Palmer So I’d pipe down about qb’s too Rob

  38. jagsfanugh says: May 19, 2012 12:41 PM

    Missing is where he stated that Boy George has the best lips he has ever …….

  39. bozosforall says: May 19, 2012 12:41 PM

    nfl1818 says:
    May 19, 2012 11:56 AM
    MY hands are insane but Im 30 lbs overweight, too old, too slow, dont know the plays, have terrible concentration and am afraid of being hit. Further I have a serious drinking problem when Im not relaxing with bong hits. Usually I am hungover. I think it helps me deal with th epressure of 4th Qrtr drives. btw – i am really pissed off about my contract.

    ____
    Thanks for describing the typical Pats fan, at least the fat drunk part. Also, thanks for exhibiting the hypocrisy of criticizing me on Pats threads when you chumps do the same on the threads of other teams.

  40. sonoco says: May 19, 2012 12:48 PM

    This was from Harbaugh doing a ten minute segment on the 49ers flagship radio station to pimp a charity event he was about to attend. Every little comment can’t be filtered to please a national audience. This was obviously meant for the local homers, me included. OK. Let the hand-wringing continue.

  41. youngnyg says: May 19, 2012 12:50 PM

    Hakeem Nicks> Crabtree…… EaZyyyy

  42. greatminnesotasportsmind says: May 19, 2012 1:00 PM

    Must have had a impressive manicure

  43. thegreatgabbert says: May 19, 2012 1:04 PM

    “Crabs” has these huge appendages on the ends of his arms that grab on and won’t let go. “Like lobster claws”, according to Harbaugh.

  44. smcgaels1997 says: May 19, 2012 1:06 PM

    He said best hands..didn’t say best WR ever…

  45. thraiderskin says: May 19, 2012 1:08 PM

    too bad he isn’t the playmaker he was drafted to be… Good hands do not hurt in the long run though.

  46. trollhammer20 says: May 19, 2012 1:10 PM

    He had so much confidence in those hands, he threw them one pass for three yards in the conference championship game…

  47. vincespowersweep says: May 19, 2012 1:21 PM

    Yeah, Crabtree does have great hands. Too bad he cant get separation to save his life.

  48. Yoda says: May 19, 2012 1:36 PM

    Carved out of stone they are.

  49. biggredbird76 says: May 19, 2012 1:37 PM

    OK OK OK first off Fitz has the best hands last 5 years in the NFL. Don’t believe me check the one hand catches out. C Johnson has great hands not the best hands. Crab has some pretty nice hands too but when it comes to making the impossible look possible that would go to Fitz. By the way M Crabtree needs to change his number. There is only one person in that division that should wear that number and it is that boy Mike Floyd. It is not gonna take him 3 years to matter like it took Crab. F the Niners by the way. Go Red Birds.

  50. raiderlyfe510 says: May 19, 2012 1:41 PM

    He also said Alex Smith was accurate in that interview…So yeah.

    LOL

  51. TeamBalco says: May 19, 2012 1:50 PM

    “I wonder what those feet look like?” ~ Rex Ryan

  52. vern1677 says: May 19, 2012 2:04 PM

    Championship game?

  53. sfniners4life says: May 19, 2012 2:53 PM

    Sure Crabtree hasn’t put up the elite wr numbers yet but his hands r excellent. To even have Marvin Harrison mentioned in the same sentence is a joke cause he was a true system wr. Without manning and Wayne he wouldn’t even be heard off. How many wr actually put up huge numbers without a steady offensive coordinator and thrown into the #1 wr spot without attending one training camp and until last year a QB situation that was poor at best.

  54. elmaxoh says: May 19, 2012 3:01 PM

    That guy with the great hands on your team has the number 84 on his back not 15 Jim Harbaugh

  55. sfniners4life says: May 19, 2012 3:03 PM

    Ur boy Floyd lol. He will be bagging grocerys in 2 years and sorry Cards and along with the rest of NFC west teams, it’s time to rebuilded cause u got 5-6 atleast before u even got a chance at a division title. Niners simply got the better D, overall WR, RB’s and coach. Cards have a perfect example of what not to do. Only good players u got us Fitz & Peterson. Wells, Kolb, Floyd, Campbell r pathetic

  56. 49erstim says: May 19, 2012 3:15 PM

    Catching the football has never been the problem. I’ve questioned his work ethic, route running and separation. Sorry Harbs. I can’t join you out on that limb, but I see ya workin bro.

    Also…. Thanks to the Raiders fans for chiming in. nice Alex Smith jab. Tell me though, how is that Palmer trade working? 9 1st rounders for an overrated USC QB. Lol.

  57. redneckrick says: May 19, 2012 3:17 PM

    Michael Irvin had great hands

  58. biggredbird76 says: May 19, 2012 3:46 PM

    sfniners4life ur trippin pimp, the az won 7 of its last nine and ended the year with a top ten defense. Niners recievers are still garbage. Outside of vernon davis yall will see single coverage across the board. Randy Moss aint gonna do jack and last time I checked we are only a few years out of a division championship. Speaking of Randy Moss see Alex Smith hahahaha. Here is one, out of the last five years niners have had 3 losing seasons to arizonas one. Not to mention az has 2 division titles an nfc conference title and a superbowl appearance, so kill that niner noise. Fitz is colder than yall top three recievers. So I cant even imagine yall having the better recieving core.

  59. sisqsage says: May 19, 2012 3:52 PM

    He’s just trying to pump up Crabtree like he did last year with Smith at QB. “Elite” Alex (Harbaughspeak) had his best year ever, so it worked, no matter if it sounded ridiculous at the time.

    Look for Crabtree to make a lot of plays underneath this year with Moss, Manningham and Jenkins the downfield threats now.

  60. lance19 says: May 19, 2012 4:33 PM

    To be fair, Harbaugh was with him
    at the drive-in when he said it.

  61. billhicks666 says: May 19, 2012 4:51 PM

    Wow. I can’t believe somebody actually took the time to make a video compilation of the catches of an overrated diva WR like Michael Crabtree. Somebody desperately needs to get a life.

  62. sonoco says: May 19, 2012 4:52 PM

    @bigredbird76 Ah yes, the Kurt Warner years, A.K.A., the high water mark for the Bidwell family and their Cardinals. I hope you have those playoff games recorded somewhere.

  63. funkylovemonkey says: May 19, 2012 4:56 PM

    biggredbird76 says:
    May 19, 2012 3:46 PM
    sfniners4life ur trippin pimp, the az won 7 of its last nine and ended the year with a top ten defense. Niners recievers are still garbage. Outside of vernon davis yall will see single coverage across the board. Randy Moss aint gonna do jack and last time I checked we are only a few years out of a division championship. Speaking of Randy Moss see Alex Smith hahahaha. Here is one, out of the last five years niners have had 3 losing seasons to arizonas one. Not to mention az has 2 division titles an nfc conference title and a superbowl appearance, so kill that niner noise. Fitz is colder than yall top three recievers. So I cant even imagine yall having the better recieving core.

    —————————————-

    Yeah, Fitzgerald is one of the best WRs in the league, and Kolb still makes Alex Smith look accurate and poised. I’m not sure you can trash talk Alex when your own QB threw 8 interceptions to his sad 9 tds and was ranked 25th in the league for accuracy (Smith was ranked 11th).

    It’s cute that Arizona keeps on talking about it’s defense, which was tied for 18th last season for yards given up. I guess in Arizona that qualifies as “top ten.” Ranked 17th in passing, 21st in rushing, 17th in points allowed. Not sure I would be bragging about that.

    On the article; Crabtree’s hands have never been his problem. It’s his lack of ability to get separation so he’s never open which has been preventing him from being a great WR. Don’t really see that changing in the future. I’m not a huge Crabtree fan, but hopefully with a few other decent WRs around him he will be able to make more of an impact.

  64. therealraiderduck says: May 19, 2012 5:07 PM

    goldrush36 says:
    May 19, 2012 12:13 PM
    Rob as long as the faiders have Darius Heyward BUST you may just want to pipe down about bad hands

    ==============================

    And who had more receiving yards last year?

    You can apologize to Raider Nation now.

  65. thcnote says: May 19, 2012 5:08 PM

    Maybe this has already been said but he doesn’t even have the best hands on his own team now that Randy’s there. Moss can catch any and everything if he wants to. The problem is he doesn’t always want to. He could have been the best WR to ever play the game if he just had heart.

  66. therealraiderduck says: May 19, 2012 5:10 PM

    49erstim says:
    May 19, 2012 3:15 PM
    Catching the football has never been the problem. I’ve questioned his work ethic, route running and separation. Sorry Harbs. I can’t join you out on that limb, but I see ya workin bro.

    Also…. Thanks to the Raiders fans for chiming in. nice Alex Smith jab. Tell me though, how is that Palmer trade working? 9 1st rounders for an overrated USC QB. Lol.

    =========================

    Typical Niners fan math, I see.

    It was ONE first rounder and ONE second rounder. That’s all.

  67. lumpinyourthroat says: May 19, 2012 6:07 PM

    Not only is Harbaugh a blowhard but he is now a flat out liar. I remember being so upset when the Raiders picked DHB over Craptree. Man was I wrong. DHB has gotten better in each year and has the work ethic to keep excelling. Mean while Craptree is more concerned about his post game attire then having an effect on weather the game is won or lost. So thus far in there NFL careers its pretty obvious that DHB>Craptree.

  68. macklinr61 says: May 19, 2012 6:17 PM

    Pretty surprised by this quote. Harbaugh does not compare players to one another. His comment is that Crabtree has great hands. Me thinks he’s stroking Crabs’ ego.

  69. goldrush36 says: May 19, 2012 6:31 PM

    therealraiderduck says: May 19, 2012 5:07 PM

    goldrush36 says:
    May 19, 2012 12:13 PM
    Rob as long as the faiders have Darius Heyward BUST you may just want to pipe down about bad hands

    ==============================

    And who had more receiving yards last year?

    You can apologize to Raider Nation now.
    __________________________________

    And who played from BEHIND on a wide open field 75% of the year?

    Sorry but losing teams often have very inflated numbers from playing catch up. Also 49ers had the best starting field position in the league, which guess what…….. deflates offensive #’s

  70. discosucs2005 says: May 19, 2012 6:33 PM

    Coach says own player has great hands; in another news husband tells wife she looks great in new outfit even though she clearly looks frumpy; wife tells husband “they’re never fake.”

  71. goldrush36 says: May 19, 2012 6:37 PM

    lumpinyourthroat says: May 19, 2012 6:07 PM

    Not only is Harbaugh a blowhard but he is now a flat out liar. I remember being so upset when the Raiders picked DHB over Craptree. Man was I wrong. DHB has gotten better in each year and has the work ethic to keep excelling. Mean while Craptree is more concerned about his post game attire then having an effect on weather the game is won or lost. So thus far in there NFL careers its pretty obvious that DHB>Craptree.

    ___________________________________________

    LMFAO…….. DHB: 99 rec, 1465 yds, 6 TD’s

    Crabtree: 175 rec, 2240 yds, 12 TD’s

    The only thing obvious is you have your head in the clouds son. And again, the offensive style and the fact the raiders always played from behind effect the yardage differences

  72. billhicks666 says: May 19, 2012 6:45 PM

    49erstim says:

    “Tell me though, how is that Palmer trade working? 9 1st rounders for an overrated USC QB. Lol.”

    Where in the world do you get 9 from? 9??? Please tell me it was just a misprint.

  73. therealraiderduck says: May 19, 2012 7:00 PM

    goldrush36 says:
    May 19, 2012 6:31 PM

    Sorry but losing teams often have very inflated numbers from playing catch up. Also 49ers had the best starting field position in the league, which guess what…….. deflates offensive #’s

    ==============================

    Losing teams?!? Oakland was 8-8 last year.

  74. saintsfan83 says: May 19, 2012 8:47 PM

    He must have two thumbs on each hand.

  75. vincentbojackson says: May 19, 2012 9:41 PM

    Rex Ryan wonders what his feet look like.

  76. hatesycophants says: May 19, 2012 10:59 PM

    They should have asked him who’s the biggest douche he’s ever seen. He is an expert in that field.

    Go Lions! Go Badgers!

  77. rhone16 says: May 19, 2012 11:47 PM

    Stories like this are why coaches hate talking to the media. Harbaugh likes talking up his players, and obviously did not mean this particular declaration as extremely as it’s being interpreted. There is no story here, other than Harbaugh liking what he’s seeing from Crabtree in OTAs.

  78. joetoronto says: May 20, 2012 7:41 AM

    If you Niner fans still really believe Crabtree was a better pick than DHB, then be happy.

    Because Raider fans KNOW we got the better WR.

  79. tluke25 says: May 20, 2012 11:26 AM

    I honestly don’t believe Harbaugh even believes what he says. Harbaugh needs to examine his own ego. This is a guy who after a regular season win runs across the field like a 13 year old kid and slaps the back of the opposing coach.

    Larry Fitzgerald has an 80:1 catch to drop ratio. If Harbaugh was coaching Fitzgerald or a dozen other receivers with good hands, he would say the same thing about them. Harbaugh sees things within his own box. Ego can do that.

  80. 49erstim says: May 20, 2012 4:04 PM

    @billhicks666…. I was being sarcastic. Maybe I should’ve put 90?….. :-)

  81. 16x8equal49ers says: May 21, 2012 9:58 AM

    Wow great reporting. Coaches always say their players are the best. Listen to John Grudden for five minutes. Its just usual sportmanship blabber. “Oh he’s great…We’ve lost 10 in a row I believe we have a good team though…one game at a time…We got beat bad but we did some good things…etc” it’s all hippo dung.

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