GREEN BAY, Wis. — Tom Crabtree’s 72-yard touchdown catch last Sunday did more than help pace Green Bay’s 31-17 victory over Arizona.
It also provided the greatest exposure yet for all the tattoo work that the Packers tight end has gotten done. More than 40 hours went into the designs that run up and down the length of Crabtree’s arms.
“I have a lot of tattoos that have special meaning to me for specific moments in my life,” Crabtree told FOXSports.com after a recent Packers practice. “And I have an overall mental makeup of that whole rock-and-roll thing. That has always been a part of me.”
During the winter break of his freshman year at Miami University, Crabtree started with a simple Celtic cross on his left shoulder to reflect his Christian faith. Before his first NFL training camp with Kansas City in 2009, Crabtree had the word “Determined” stamped on the inside of his left forearm. The entire sleeve with tribal markings was completed in the 2010 offseason at Tattoos by Rick in Green Bay.
The detailing is even more intricate on Crabtree’s right arm. Crabtree started there in college by having the words “All Out” stamped on his biceps to reflect his on-field attitude for the Red Hawks. The team’s trademark “M” red helmet logo followed with other colorful tats featuring skulls, flames and even an American flag.
Crabtree’s most prized tattoo is one that is hidden under his shoulder pads. Imprinted on his chest is the name of his wife Chelsea. Crabtree’s next tattoo in the offseason will be adding the names of his young children Bryce and Delaynie.
With his unique look, Crabtree is one of the most recognizable Packers. That has helped Crabtree generate awareness of his fundraising efforts for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation through his web site (www.tcrabtree83.com). Chelsea Crabtree was affected by the disease in her youth.
During school visits, Crabtree finds some students are mesmerized by his ink.
“They have fake tattoos or sleeves and get all excited,” a smiling Crabtree said. “I just tell them to wait on the real thing and make sure their parents approve of that.”
Crabtree, though, admits he isn’t quite sure what his own parents or grandparents truly think about his body art.
“I guess when they’re watching games on TV it’s cool because I’m easy to spot,” said the 27-year-old Crabtree, who is in his third season with the Packers. “If I’m in a pile or anything, they can see me moving around. But it’s probably a couple of different generations to an extent as far as how much (work) is enough.
“They’ve never really told me I can’t do it. But I’ve seen my parents shake their heads like, ‘You got more?’”