Shutdown Corner - NFL

Ring the bell, school's back in!

Football is back in, too, for Michael Crabtree(notes). After a long holdout, he finally signed a contract with the San Francisco 49ers. As it turns out, all they needed was a little help from M.C. Hammer.

I actually have no idea what, if anything, M.C. Hammer contributed to negotiations, but he was in the room when the deal was reached. What qualifies Hammer to be there -- other than a mind to rhyme and two hype feet, of course -- I couldn't tell you. According to excellent 49ers beat reporter Matt Maiocco, though, Hammer's an old friend of Crabtree's agent, Eugene Parker.

Maiocco tweeted several updates about Crabtree, Parker and Hammer on his Twitter page. He also posted a recap of his day attempting to cover the negotiations, including Hammer seeming offended when Maiocco asked him who he was. Hammer, don't hurt 'em!

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.

Oh, well, as long as he knows Deion Sanders, of course Hammer should be there. Good for him, though. Hammer hasn't gotten this much attention since those Nationwide (is on yo side!) commercials stopped running. is reporting that Crabtree signed a six-year deal with the 49ers, with $32 million in base salary, $17 million guaranteed, and some incentives on top of that. That's right about in line with what anyone picked 10th overall could've expected, so really, all Crabtree accomplished with his holdout was wasting a year of his career. Way to think it through, buddy.

As for Hammer, younger readers might not be familiar with him, so I think the best way to describe him is this: People my age think of Hammer now the way you're going to think of Soulja Boy in 20 years. It was amusing and enjoyable at the time, but eventually you'll be confused as to how the whole thing ever happened. And then he'll turn up and negotiate a contract for Matthew Stafford(notes) Jr.

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