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Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Harbaugh declines to discuss penalty

By Bill Williamson

Had the San Francisco 49ers lost Monday night to the Atlanta Falcons, there would have been more controversy concerning a questionable penalty on a 49ers’ defender.

Early in the game, hard-hitting San Francisco safety Donte Whitner made what appeared to be a legal hit on third down while Atlanta was in the red zone. However, he was called for a penalty. It extended the drive and the Falcons took a 7-3 lead.

Tuesday, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh declined to discuss the play. But he did pass along a message while deflecting the question: "Everyone saw it. ...I think everybody's commented on it, everybody's seen it across the country. No need for me to comment on it."

Last month, the 49ers lost at New Orleans after linebacker Ahmad Brooks was called for a questionable penalty late in a game on a play where the 49ers recovered a Drew Brees fumble.

In other 49ers' notes:

• The team will have meetings only on Wednesday so players can celebrate Christmas in the morning with their families, according to Harbaugh.

• Harbaugh said receiver Michael Crabtree may be added to the "hands team" for onside kick coverage. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman allowed an onside kick to get behind him Monday night. Three plays later, of course, Bowman redeemed himself by returning an interception 89 yards to seal the win.

• For those who are counting, the 49ers are 6-0 when Harbaugh wears cleats on the sideline.