Crabtree: The Leaves are Falling Off

Johnny BransfordContributor IAugust 9, 2009

SANTA CLARA, CA - MAY 01:  Michael Crabtree #15 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on at practice during the 49ers Minicamp at their training facilities on May 1, 2009 in Santa Clara, California. Crabtree was the 49ers first round draft pick.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)


Michael Crabtree, San Francisco's first-round draft pick, is still not in training camp.

Crabtree, however, wants to play this season -- he just wants fair market value on his rookie contract, according to a source close to Crabtree.

The wide receiver's agent, Eugene Parker, said everything is quiet in talks with the team. An ESPN reporton Thursday quoted David Wells, Crabtree's cousin and adviser, as saying Crabtree is willing to sit out the 2009 season if not appeased.

Parker said that wasn't true and that information is not coming from him.

"No comments have been made to ESPN or anyone else," Parker told FanHouse Thursday via text message.

A source in the 49ers organization said San Francisco didn't know anything about the ESPN report. Coach Mike Singletarywill not address the media again until Friday, though 49ers spokesman Bob Lange told FanHouse, "This has been our approach throughout the entire process. The 49ers are not going to negotiate in the media. In our view, there has been open and positive communication between both sides."

Crabtree, the 10th-pick of the 2009 draft, is seeking a contract close to what Raiders rookie wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey received. Heyward-Bey, the seventh pick of the draft, signed a five-year deal worth $38.5 million, including $23.5 million guaranteed.

Crabtree believes he's worth at least that, and has turned down a five-year deal worth about $21 million. That proposed deal is close to what last year's 10th pick, Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo, received. Mayo agreed to a five-year, $18.9 million contract with $13.8 million in guarantees and bonuses.

Recently, Crabtree said he expected to be in training camp and had fully recovered from offseason foot surgery. But, to me money isn't everything, I guess to him it is. If he really loved football he'd get his butt out there and get back in shape.

As of right now, Crabtree has missed 10 training camp practices.