San Francisco 49ers

Joe Looney to start at center for injury-depleted 49ers

Rookie Dontae Johnson will start at cornerback and play nickel cornerback for the 49ers today against the Seahawks.
Rookie Dontae Johnson will start at cornerback and play nickel cornerback for the 49ers today against the Seahawks. AP

SEATTLE -- Joe Looney will make his first-ever start at center today in the most inhospitable building in the NFL. Meanwhile, rookie Dontae Johnson will make his first start at cornerback with both Chris Culliver (knee) and Tramaine Brock (hamstring) out for the game.

Johnson is likely to slide to nickel cornerback when the Seahawks use three or more receivers with Leon McFadden entering the game on the outside. The only other healthy cornerback is Marcus Cromartie, who was added to the active roster Saturday.

The 49ers begin today’s game with 17 players on injury lists and several more unavailable for today’s game. That includes starting right tackle Anthony Davis (concussion), starting cornerbacks Brock and Culliver and center Martin (knee).

Jonathan Martin will start for Davis, the ninth time he has done so this season. Looney has started two games this season, both of them at guard.

In addition, receiver Stevie Johnson won’t play because of a knee injury. When the 49ers and Seahawks met on Thanksgiving, Johnson was a common topic because of the big game he had against the Seahawks defense and cornerback Richard Sherman when he Johnson was with the Bills.

Johnson had three catches for 28 yards on Thanksgiving. He’s had just four catches overall in the last four games. Second-year player Quinton Patton, who was inactive for the first 12 games of the season, figures to see more action today and even could be the 49ers’ de facto third wide receiver.

Cromartie and guard Andrew Tiller were promoted from the practice squad on Saturday. Cromartie will wear No. 47; Tiller is wearing No. 61.

49ers inactives

QB Josh Johnson

WR Stevie Johnson

T Anthony Davis

CB Tramaine Brock

C Marcus Martin

S Ray Ventrone

CB Chris Culliver

Seahawks inactives

CB Marcus Burley

C Max Unger

DT Travian Robertson

WR Kevin Norwood

TE Cooper Helfet

TE RaShaun Allen

DE Demarcus Dobbs

Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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