49ers could turn to Josh Norman in Week 1 despite limited reps

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49ers could turn to Norman with Moseley not expected to play originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SANTA CLARA -- Veteran cornerback Josh Norman has been with the 49ers for less than a week, but he might be asked to play a key role in the team’s season opener.

Starting cornerback Emmanuel Moseley is not expected to be available for the Week 1 game at the Detroit Lions on Sunday. And the 49ers have no clear-cut No. 3 cornerback to open the season.

Norman signed with the 49ers on Monday after being in contact with the club for a period of months while he remained an unrestricted free agent, he said. 

"I'm here to win a championship," Norman said Friday afternoon before the club departed for Detroit. "It's not so much about the numbers now than it is about getting a ring on my hand and hoisting that Lombardi, something that I've always cherished to do.

"And I feel like this team has that ability and has capabilities to make that happen. And I'm going to do everything in my power to help to push us to the edge and getting that done."”

Norman, rookie Deommodore Lenoir and Dontae Johnson are candidates to start in place of Moseley, who did not practice this week due to a knee injury. The 49ers would have to elevate Johnson from the practice squad on Saturday in order for him to be available to play against the Lions.

Norman, 33, enters his 10th NFL season with his fourth different club. He played four seasons apiece with Carolina and Washington before appearing in nine games with three starts for Buffalo last year.

“He’s been in a lot of systems, played a lot of football and he’s fit in real well here,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said.

RELATED: Bosa headlines five 49ers to watch vs. Lions in Week 1

Shanahan said he believes Norman knows enough of the 49ers’ defensive scheme and is in good enough shape after not participating in training camp to play effectively, if needed.

“It’s not something you want to do, but if we need to do, he’s up for the challenge,” Shanahan said.

Norman started 95 of the 120 games in which he appeared through nine seasons. He has 15 career interceptions and was a Pro Bowl selection and All-Pro selection with the Panthers in 2015.

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