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49ers re-sign Johnson, protect three practice squad players

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The 49ers on Monday released Dontae Johnson to make room for Josh Norman on their 53-man roster.

The 49ers on Tuesday re-signed Johnson to the practice squad. And the up-and-down veteran cornerback still could find himself playing a role in the team’s season opener at the Detroit Lions.

Johnson remains an option for the 49ers to elevate to the roster on Saturday to play on Sunday, depending on how the week progresses.

Starting cornerback Emmanuel Moseley has been bothered by a hamstring injury during training camp, and he did not participate in practice on Monday.

Norman, 33, did not take part in training camp. He will be challenged mentally and physically this week, as he learns the 49ers’ system.

Norman is in his 10th NFL season. He was a Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection of the Carolina Panthers in 2015.

The only other backup cornerbacks on the 49ers are rookies Deommodore Lenoir and Ambry Thomas.

If the coaching staff determines Johnson is best-prepared to step in as a backup, he will be elevated on Saturday to play in the opener.

Each team is allowed to activate two members off the practice squad each week to be eligible to play in games. The other candidates to be activated from the practice squad are wide receiver/punt returner Travis Benjamin and quarterback Nate Sudfeld.

 

Rookie quarterback Trey Lance sustained a chipped finger bone on his throwing hand in the exhibition finale.

He was no longer wearing a splint during practice on Monday, but he was still not handling a football or throwing passes.

If Lance is not cleared to play in the opener, Sudfeld will serve as the backup to starter Jimmy Garoppolo.

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The 49ers appear ready to open the season with wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk as the primary punt returner, but Benjamin remains an option.

The 49ers protected Sudfeld, Benjamin and cornerback Dee Virgin from their practice squad, which prevents any team from signing them to join a 53-man for the remainder of the week.

The 49ers released rookie linebacker Elijah Sullivan from their practice squad to sign Johnson.

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