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Michael Alex Crabtree (born September 14, 1987) is an American football wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Texas Tech University, where he was a two-time unanimous All-American, and was twice recognized as the nation's top college receiver. He left college after only two seasons, and the San Francisco 49ers selected him with the tenth overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Crabtree was selected 10th overall by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2009 NFL Draft. He was the highest drafted Texas Tech Red Raider since Donny Anderson went seventh overall in the 1965 NFL Draft. On July 28, 2009, Crabtree failed to report for training camp because he had no contract.Crabtree's training camp no show was the first for a rookie since 2005. Sources[who?] close to Crabtree indicated that he was prepared to sit out the 2009-2010 NFL season and re-enter the 2010 NFL Draft. Crabtree's agent Eugene Parker stated that he denied threatening the 49ers with having Crabtree sit out the season and reenter the draft.
On August 30, 2009, Crabtree became the very last holdout and unsigned draft pick from the 2009 NFL draft when Andre Smith, the 6th overall pick, signed with the Bengals. That day was also the 32nd day of Crabtree's holdout, and only 10 days short of the all time long holdout for any 49er rookie in the franchise's history. Beat reporter Matt Maiocco had reported rumors that the signing could have happened around Labor Day, but that did not occur as the sides remained at a complete impasse. Over Labor Day weekend Deion Sanders, an NFL reporter and Crabtree counselor, stated on the NFL Total Access show that Crabtree was indeed willing to sit out the entire season. Sanders also claimed that the rookie receiver was not in "dire need" of money at that time.
By September 9, 2009, Crabtree set a 49ers record by becoming the longest rookie holdout in franchise history. The last first round draft pick to hold out for an entire season was quarterback Kelly Stouffer in 1987 when he refused to sign with the Cardinals. Stouffer was eventually traded in April 1988 to the Seahawks for three draft picks, including a first pick in the 1989 draft. The 49ers would have had the option to trade the rights to Crabtree only after March 1, 2010, and up until the next draft. If a team were to trade for the rights, that team would not be able to sign such a player before the 2010 NFL Draft. If he was not signed by the 49ers and then traded to another team, his contract would have then counted against that team's 2010 rookie pool.
On September 21, 2009, the 49ers filed charges against the New York Jets for attempting to tamper with their negotiations with Crabtree. The 49ers may believe the Jets contacted Crabtree's agent to let him know they'd be interested in trading for his rights, or in drafting him in 2010 with a better salary than the 49ers were offering. The 49ers had until November 17 to sign Crabtree or he wouldn't be allowed to play in the 2009 season along with it being considered a non-accrued season for contract purposes.On October 7, 2009, ESPN reported that Crabtree and the 49ers had agreed to a six-year contract.
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