Niners GM Baalke on Crabtree-Smith feud: 'They'll figure it out'

San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke doesn't know the specifics of the Michael Crabtree-Alex Smith feud. Yet Baalke, who like every GM has been barred from contact with players during the NFL lockout, isn't concerned about the situation.

At least that what's he told the San Jose Mercury News on Thursday.

"It doesn't bother me at all," Baalke said. "It's like any relationship, right? When you're growing up with your family, your friends, there's going to be disagreements. There's going to be arguments. There's going to be fights. Those things happen, especially in a competitive environment, which these guys are in.

"So when these guys have a little spat here or there or have a little disagreement, that's part of it. They're grown men. They'll figure it out."

Baalke should hope the players have ironed out whatever issues still might linger from comments that Crabtree made last month after the 49ers' first day of a Smith-run offensive minicamp.

Asked then if "throwing with the quarterback was beneficial toward improving chemistry," Crabtree responded, "Who's the quarterback?"

When Smith's name was dropped, Crabtree didn't exactly offer an endorsement: "He's the quarterback? I'm just asking."

The 49ers drafted Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the second round of April's draft. Even so, new 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh has said since January that he would like Smith to re-sign with the team -- a scenario that's expected to play out once the lockout is lifted.

Crabtree's controversial comments fell in line with a reputation he has received as a diva wide receiver, dating to his college days at Texas Tech. The 49ers got a taste of it from the start when Crabtree, a 2009 first-round pick, staged a holdout that caused him to miss five games as a rookie.

Still, Baalke expressed his support for Crabtree, who had 55 catches for 746 yards and six touchdowns last season.

"I don't put much stock into any of that, to be honest with you," Baalke said. "We know the type of person that Michael is. We saw what he did as a rookie with very few practices under his belt, and to have the type of success he had as a rookie.

"We're very comfortable and confident in Michael, as we are with all the players on this team."

As for Smith, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft and will receive another chance in San Francisco, Baalke said he was pleased to see the quarterback take charge this offseason, although he wasn't surprised.

"It doesn't tell me anything that I didn't already know," Baalke said. "Alex has a lot of character, and I think it's shown through this time, as it has in the past. So has it taught me anything new about Alex? No. But what it has done is reinforce what I already felt about him."

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