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Crabtree not seen with 49ers at hotel in Atlanta


As the 49ers prepare for their second straight NFC title game, they’re dealing with an unexpected and unwelcome distraction.

MDS pointed out earlier tonight that receiver Michael Crabtree is being investigated for sexual assault. Cam Inman of Bay Area News Group reports that Crabtree was not seen with the team as it arrived at its hotel in Atlanta.Crabtree has yet to be arrested or charged, but the allegations are troubling and they provide yet another challenge for coach Jim Harbaugh.

If Crabtree did what he could end up being formally accused of doing, Crabtree will be facing a problem with Harbaugh. “He said that we can do anything in the world and we can come and talk to him and he’ll forgive us except put our hands on women,” safety Donte Whitner said last year. “If you put your hand on a woman then you’re done in his book. So other than putting your hands on women, you can do anything and come talk to him, and it’s true.”

Crabtree has emerged as the team’s top receiver in 2012. Though the 49ers have plenty of other effective pass-catchers, they need Crabtree to be effective and focused for the team’s biggest game of the season.

The incident allegedly occurred in the hours after the 49ers beat the Packers in the NFC divisional playoffs.