The San Francisco 49ers are hoping to return to the Super Bowl following a loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII. With the majority of their roster returning for the 2013 season, and Colin Kaepernick having some playoff experience under his belt, it seemed a likely possibility for the 49ers to be playing at MetLife Stadium next February. At least that was the case before their journey to the Super Bowl was met with an unexpected obstacle.
Michael Crabtree suffered a torn Achilles at OTA's during 7-on-7 drills. A simple cut that Crabtree has made countless times before, brought the 49ers' best receiver to the ground in agonizing pain. Crabtree appeared to be Colin Kaepernick's favorite target toward the end of last season and combining his injury with the ongoing recovery of Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams from torn ACLs, the 49ers receiving core seems to be reeling.
The burden of pass catching and downfield blocking now falls to veterans Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin, but if the 49ers want to play their way into Super Bowl XLVIII, they will need some of their younger receivers to step up in a big way. Guys like third-year pro Ricardo Lockette, who has two career catches, and second-year wideout A.J. Jenkins will have an opportunity to have an impact early in the upcoming season. The 49ers will also need rookie wide receiver Quinton Patton to be NFL-ready sooner than they had originally hoped.
Check out the video above to hear what head coach Jim Harbaugh and Michael Crabtree's teammates have to say about losing their No. 1 receiver to a devastating injury, and don't forget to tell us how you think the loss of Crabtree will affect the 49ers moving forward.