The fallout from Michael Crabtree's missing inches continues. Stunned onlookers at Lucas Oil Stadium struggled to explain the scene as former top prospect Michael Crabtree measured just 6'1". "We measured him three times" said BLESTO height and weight expert Bill McNulty "and he seemed to get shorter each time. It was heartrending. I feared we were going to measure him right out of his shirt."
Crabtree was a standout at Texas Tech University, where he became the first player ever to twice win the prestigious Fred Biletnikoff award for outstanding receiver play. Despite the controversy, there's no movement at this time to strip Crabtree of the awards. But grumblings have already sounded from Tech head coach Mike Leach. "I'm angry. I'm very angry. We've been defrauded," Leach said Friday. "And make no mistake: This wasn't a college kid with a fake ID."
"This was a deliberate, premeditated fraud" that involved bribes, along with falsified hospital and school records, Leach said. "Had I known he was so short, I'd never had started him. I feel betrayed, but worse, cheated."
"Saddest thing I've seen since it was revealed that McNabb kid is black" explained an NFL Executive who wished not to be identified. "Just a shock. You spend millions scouting talent, but there's those elusive details you just can't scout."
Asked if he thought the revelation hurt Crabtree's draft stock, draft expert Mel Kiper said "What stock? Kid better learn to use those big hands to flip burgers, because he's done. There's no precedent for players [his height] succeeding. None. It would be unprecedented." Kiper explained the need for wide receivers to be as big as possible to succeed in the NFL. "You want a big target for the quarterback. A guy they can just chuck at and hope something gets stuck."
Not every attendant was so dire. Seattle Seahawks general manager Tim Ruskell seemed enthused. "Definitely. He's shot up our boards. That was our last real concern, but to see him up there so small, looking almost fragile, I thought ‘that's a Seahawks wide receiver.'"
A sober voiced cleaved the hysteria. "I knew right away Crabtree wasn't 6'3" said NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock. The source of his insight "I looked at him. We met a couple years ago, I shook his hand and saw he was shorter than me."
His take on the Crabtree chaos: "These guys are idiots."