Crabtree played high school football for Bloom-Carroll High School in Carroll, Ohio. He attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he played tight end for the RedHawks for four seasons from 2005 to 2008. Primarily known as an excellent blocker, during his career at Miami he caught 40 passes for 329 yards (an 8.1 average) with two touchdowns.
He graduated from Miami with a degree in secondary education.
Crabtree was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent on May 8, 2009. He appeared in all four of Kansas City’s preseason games, with two catches for 19 yards. He was then waived in the Chiefs' final roster cutdown on September 6, but he was signed to the Chiefs’ practice squad the next day after clearing waivers. He was released after the third regular-season game. Soon after being released Crabtree fell into a deep depression and began knitting to cope.
During the 2009 NFL season, Crabtree was signed to the Green Bay Packers practice squad for the final five weeks of the 2009 NFL season and then to a reserve/futures contract after the season ended. He made it past the Packers' final roster cutdown before the 2010 NFL season as their third-string tight end behind Jermichael Finley, Donald Lee and ahead of rookie tight end Andrew Quarless.
In the 2010 regular season for the Packers, he totaled four catches for 61 yards. In 2011, he had six catches for 38 yards and one touchdown.
Crabtree played in all 16 games on offense and special teams. He caught a seven-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers in the first quarter of the Packers' wild card game at the Philadelphia Eagles, opening the scoring with his first NFL touchdown.
He won a Super Bowl ring with the Packers on February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium in Super Bowl XLV, won by the Packers 31-25. In the game, he had one catch (from Aaron Rodgers) for one yard and he also made one tackle.
In 2012 against the Chicago Bears, Crabtree caught a touchdown pass from holder Tim Masthay on a fake field goal, as the Packers went on to win 23-10. Against the Houston Texans, he caught a 48-yard touchdown pass. Against the Cardinals, he caught a career-long 72-yard touchdown pass.
Crabtree signed a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on March 15, 2013.
He started the season on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain suffered in a preseason game. The injury plagued him much of the season. Once activated, he caught four passes for 21 yards with one touchdown. He was again placed on injured reserve November 25, ending his season after suffering a torn bicep, for which he underwent surgery.
His lone touchdown of the 2013 season came on a 2-yard jump pass from running back Mike James.
On May 17, 2014, Crabtree announced via Twitter that he had been released from the Buccaneers.
Crabtree signed with New Orleans Saints on October 7, 2014 after tight end try outs were conducted on the same day, with Crabtree getting the nod from the team. He was released on October 18, 2014, but was re-signed two days later on October 20. He was eventually released again on October 24.
On April 30, 2015, Crabtree announced his retirement from football. He spent a total of seven years in the league.
He married Chelsea Crabtree on June 28, 2009. They have a son, Bryce Thomas Crabtree, born October 14, 2010, and a daughter, Delaynie. He also has two dogs: Molly, a Boston Terrier, and Annie, a Belgian Malinois. He and his wife are active in raising funds and awareness for juvenile diabetes and for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
In 2016, he appeared in a short promotional video produced by eighth-graders of Bloom-Carroll Middle School (his junior-high alma mater) to help boost yearbook sales.
On November 30, 2016, he became a recurring guest on the podcast Pardon My Take, hosted by Dan "Big Cat" Katz and another person believed to be Marlins Woman.