SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Quinton Dial put a punishing hit on running back Alfonso Smith late in 11-on-11 work. Tony Jerod-Eddie pounded Jonathan Martin not once but twice, even sending him to his backside.
In their first audition to become San Francisco’s starting nose tackle, Dial and Jerod-Eddie each showed off impressive physical strength in the middle of the defensive line Sunday. They have a tough job to replace former LSU star Glenn Dorsey, who went down with a torn left biceps on Friday and will need surgery. While he isn’t being ruled out for the entire 2014 season, the recovery is expected to be extensive — perhaps three to four months.
Also in the mix is Mike Purcell, who signed as an undrafted free agent last year and would have to make a big leap up the depth chart from the practice squad.
Tackle Jones carted off field: In Flowery Branch, Georgia, Falcons backup offensive tackle Terren Jones was carted off the practice field and taken to a hospital with an unknown injury.
Coach Mike Smith said the team didn’t have an immediate update on the status of Jones, who was in a neck brace when he was taken to an ambulance.
Jones signed with the Falcons as an undrafted free agent from Alabama State in 2013. He spent most of the season on the practice squad and did not appear in a game.
Also, Falcons rookie defensive end Ra’Shede Hageman left practice with an apparent hand injury after a fight with center Joe Hawley.
Smith said fights during practice are a problem. He pledged “to get that fixed.”
Atlanta brings in veteran safety Johnson: The Falcons added depth at safety by signing free agent Tyrell Johnson.
Sunday’s move comes after safety Dwight Lowery left Friday night’s scrimmage with a concussion. Lowery missed most of the 2013 season with Jacksonville after suffering a concussion at Seattle on Sept. 22. He later was placed on injured reserve and released.
Johnson, a second-round pick by Minnesota in 2008, played four seasons with the Vikings. He played four games with Detroit in 2012.
The Falcons waived fullback Roosevelt Nix-Jones to clear a roster spot for Johnson.
Berry, Cooper return to practice: In St. Joseph, Missouri, Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry and starting cornerback Marcus Cooper are practicing again at training camp afater minor injuries.
Berry missed time with a sore right heel. Cooper tweaked a hamstring.
Their return Sunday was the first positive injury news in a while for the Chiefs. They have been struggling with injuries, especially in their suspect secondary.
Backup safety Sanders Commings is out after surgery for a severe high ankle sprain and fractured fibula. Reserve defensive backs David Van Dyke, DeMarcus Van Dyke and Phillip Gaines also have missed time with various injuries.
Linebacker Dezman Moses left Sunday’s workout after hurting his elbow.
Levitre comes off non-football-injury list: In Nashville, Tennessee, Titans left guard Andy Levitre was removed from the non-football-injury list 10 days after an appendectomy, and he returned to the field Sunday.
Levitre had his appendix removed July 24, the day before the Titans reported for training camp. He had been running and working out since Monday.
He said he felt good enough to be activated before Sunday’s practice rather than Monday’s joint practice with Atlanta. Levitre said he hopes to take part in team drills Wednesday when the Titans are back on the field in Tennessee, and he’s hopeful of playing in the preseason opener Saturday against the Green Bay Packers unless told no.
Levitre has started all 80 games since being drafted by Buffalo in 2009.