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San Francisco 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree is prepared to sit out this season and re-enter the NFL draft in 2010, David Wells, Crabtree's cousin and adviser, said Thursday.
"We are prepared to do it," Wells said. "Michael just wants fair market value. They took him with the 10th pick and you have Darrius Heyward-Bey [the seventh overall pick by the Oakland Raiders] getting $38 million? This week is crucial. Michael was one of the best players in the draft and he just wants to be paid like one of the best players. This week is very crucial."
However, Crabtree's agent told ESPN.com that no such threat has been made on his part.
Addressing the report, agent Eugene Parker told ESPN.com on Thursday afternoon: "You've known me a long time and I'm not a guy who makes threats. Nor am I a guy who negotiates in the public. I don't know where this came from but no such threat has been made."The 49ers on Thursday released a statement saying that the team does not negotiate in the media. "In our view, there have been open and positive conversations on both sides," the statement says.
Wells said he believes the Niners have made an offer but that it is not acceptable. Wells said Crabtree is ready to start practicing and was held out of organized team activities this spring by coaches only for precautionary reasons.
Crabtree, who turns 22 next month, also missed the 49ers' offseason minicamps while recovering from a foot injury but was a regular presence at team headquarters for rehabilitation and strengthening workouts.When quarterback Alex Smith was told about the report, he shook his head. "I haven't spoken to him since the summer," said Smith. "It's something I haven't thought about to tell you the truth. We're pretty focused on the guys we have here right now. I'm not worried about it." If Crabtree does show up, he'll do so having missed all the OTAs and a growing chunk of training camp. "As a rookie, you're already behind the eight ball," Smith said. "You're just trying to catch up, all the timing that goes with it and trying to know your position, it's hard."
Crabtree caught 97 passes for 1,165 yards and 19 touchdowns last year during his sophomore season at Texas Tech. He finished his collegiate career with 231 receptions, 3,127 yards and 41 TDs.
Joe Schad is a college football reporter for ESPN. Information from ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli and The Associated Press was used in this report.