NEW YORK – Michael Crabtree ditched the boot about two weeks ago.

NEW YORK – Michael Crabtree ditched the boot about two weeks ago.

“I buried it,” he said with a sly smile.

Crabtree’s surgically repaired left foot was mostly confined to a protective boot for five weeks, but Tuesday he had black sneakers on both feet as he strolled around a Manhattan office building, no limp in sight.

“The recovery is going real good,” the All-American receiver from Texas Tech said. “My foot is doing well. I feel like I’m taking it one step at a time.”

Crabtree arrived in New York on Monday night and spent Tuesday running around town to promote his first national endorsement deal. He recently became the latest star athlete to sign a deal with the sandwich shop Subway, joining Michael Strahan, Michael Phelps and Ryan Howard.

But the big day is Saturday, when he is expected to be among the first players selected in the NFL draft at Radio City Music Hall.

The 21-year-old receiver from Dallas spent two seasons in college, dominating defensive backs and averaging more than a touchdown per game. From the moment he declared for the draft in January, the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Crabtree seemed a lock to be the first receiver drafted and a top-10 pick.

Not so fast.

At the scouting combine in February, a routine medical exam revealed Crabtree had a stress fracture in his left foot. No one was more surprised than Crabtree. He thought he was simply sore.

Suddenly the sure-thing had a huge question mark hanging over him.

“Tell you the truth I always face those kind of challenges. When I was going to college I had a minor setback and I had to sit out a year,” he said, referring to his redshirt freshman season brought on because the NCAA was slow to declare him academically eligible.

“I feel like when things are going too smooth, there’s something wrong. (The injury) was nothing but a challenge to me. Everybody made it a big deal. It wasn’t a big deal.”

After the fracture was revealed, Crabtree’s first move was to cancel his 40-yard dash at the combine. The next day, he said he’d run at pro day in Lubbock, Texas and put off having surgery.


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