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49ers protect four veteran players from practice squad

NBC Sports

The 49ers protected four veteran players on their practice squad from getting signed by another team this week.

As part of the new NFL rules and guidelines this season during the COVID-19 pandemic, each team is allowed to submit a weekly list of four protected players from their 16-player practice squad every Tuesday during the season.

The four players the 49ers chose to protect on Tuesday were center Hroniss Grasu, wide receiver Kevin White, defensive end Dion Jordan and cornerback Dontae Johnson.

Each of the players the 49ers protected has significant NFL experience and would be options for a promotion to the active roster later in the week to play on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals in the season opener at Levi’s Stadium.

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Grasu appeared in 18 games with 13 starts while seeing in action in four seasons, beginning in 2015, with Chicago and Baltimore.

He spent the final week as the team’s top center during training camp. Weston Richburg (knee) opens the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list. His replacement last season, Ben Garland, missed the remainder of camp after sustaining an ankle injury on Aug. 18.

Grasu could be an option to start on Sunday if Garland is not available to play.