Michael Crabtree: It feels good to be back to work

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ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Michael Crabtree was rummaging through his locker on Tuesday, looking for an item in his return to the Oakland Raiders facility.

It had been a more than a week since Crabtree had set foot in the compound and he turned to rookie receiver Isaac Whitney.

"Man," Crabtree said, "it feels good to be back to work."

Perhaps the only person happier to have Crabtree reinstated from his one-game suspension for his role in the melee with Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib is Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.

Especially with Amari Cooper's injured left ankle likely to keep him out of Sunday's AFC West showdown at the Kansas City Chiefs.

"I know how much Crab is a competitor, and I know how much he loves football," Carr said of Crabtree. "I know just from having to miss a game this year because of my back how much that sucks. As much as we work hard and love to compete and be out there with our brothers, I know it just was hurting him because he just likes to be out there.

"For him to be able to come back, I can pretty much promise you he's juiced and ready to play."

Crabtree has 42 catches for 502 yards, second to tight end Jared Cook's 43 receptions and 543 yards on the team. Crabtree leads the Raiders with six receiving touchdowns and his 12.0 yards per catch average is his highest since 2013.

Still, Crabtree has not necessarily lit up the Chiefs in his career. In seven games against Kansas City, he has 21 catches, on 48 targets, for 187 yards and three scores.

In the Raiders' wild 31-30 defeat of the Chiefs on Oct. 19 in Oakland, Crabtree only had three receptions for 24 yards, while Cooper was going off to the tune of 11 catches for 210 yards and two touchdowns. But Crabtree's last catch was the biggest -- a 2-yard TD on an untimed down that, along with Giorgio Tavecchio's PAT, gave the Raiders the victory.

"It's great having him back out at practice," Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing said of Crabtree. "He brings an energy and brings a personality that kind of gets guys going a little bit and makes it fun to be out there. It's certainly awesome to have his talent back.

"He is such a talented and gifted pass-catcher that it's nice to be able to see him leading the line in individuals and running routes and looking like an All-Pro guy."

As the Raiders stumbled out to a 3-5 start, Crabtree was their most reliable player and seemed primed to make a Pro Bowl run. The fight with the Broncos and Talib, who snatched his chain for the second time in as many meetings between the two, initially earned Crabtree a two-game suspension from the league.

It was reduced to one game upon appeal, and the Raiders' receiving corps received an upgrade. Then there's this: Kansas City suspended All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters for this game after he threw an official's flag into the stands last weekend and walked off the field on his own.

Good for Crabtree to be back to work, indeed.

"It's going to be huge," Carr said of Crabtree's return. "We've been through this a couple of times this year. Anytime you can get a piece back, it's nothing against anybody else, but those guys are starters for reasons. Those guys got all the reps. Those guys have seen the ball coming to them from me many times, for years now.

"With Crab coming back, obviously it's no secret, I love throwing him the ball. I love Crab and I think a lot of people know that. So being able to get him back, it definitely helps our team."