Today was not exactly what I had in mind many years ago when I decided to pursue a career in journalism. But it was definitely a bizarre day. It was fun, despite the fact two key figures in the saga went to great lengths to avoid me.
The day included a trip to the hotel where the negotiations between the 49ers and Michael Crabtree were taking place. It included team president Jed York seeing me before I saw him on his way out of the hotel and taking an escape route through the hotel restaurant.
It included a mysterious man with York – someone I immediately thought resembled MC Hammer – apparently asking the door man to assist in York’s departure from the property.
Later, Crabtree was spotted leaving the hotel via the same escape route. This time when Comcast Sportsnet reporter Mindi Bach and I pursued, Crabtree and the Hammer-look-alike broke into a spirited trot out the back gate of the restaurant patio and down the paved driveway back to the turnaround near the lobby where a black SUV was awaiting.
When the man who helped both York and Crabtree get away re-entered the lobby, I laughed and we shook hands. I introduced myself. And when I asked for his name, he tilted his head back, shrugged his shoulders and acted as if it were the dumbest question he’d heard in a while.
Yes, folks, I later found out there was a very good reason this man looked like Hammer. It was Hammer. And although one hotel employee told me Crabtree said to Hammer, “Get it done,” as he entered the SUV, it’s safe to say that Hammer has no role in the negotiations. Hammer is long time friends with Deion Sanders and Crabtree’s agent, Eugene Parker. Sanders is a mentor for Crabtree.
It is my understanding that progress is being made in the negotiations. Heck, the fact that they’ve finally had a face-to-face meeting is tremendous progress. It shows Crabtree has a willingness to play for the 49ers.
The talks between Parker and 49ers chief negotiator Paraag Marathe are expected to continue tomorrow – if a deal is not reached late tonight.
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York was not in the speaking mood this afternoon but he later had some interesting things to say to CSN 49ers analyst Eric Davis. Click here to listen to his report.
Among the things York told Davis:
–From a 49ers’ standpoint, they consider Crabtree part of the family. There are no hard feelings.
–There is negotiating going on. The 49ers are looking at two or three contract proposals, whereas before there was just one offer on the table. They are looking at ways to get a deal worked out.
–There is optimism because there is negotiating going on. The 49ers want Crabtree to play for the 49ers, and Crabtree says he wants to play for the 49ers. But York did say until there’s a signature on the contract . . . it’s not done.
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