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Unknown offensive lineman Joe Looney steps into key role for San Francisco in first action

A little-known offensive lineman with less than one full game of NFL experience could find himself starting for San Francisco in its biggest game of the year yet.

Every game day, Joe Looney goes through his own pregame practice on the Candlestick Park field before his teammates on the active roster do it for real. Such is life on the practice squad.

Forced into his first regular action at right guard early in Sunday's 23-13 victory against St. Louis when left tackle Joe Staley went down and Alex Boone shifted to replace him, Looney impressed his teammates with how quickly he settled into his position.

Looney began the week working at right guard, and Staley's status for Sunday's game against Seattle remains unclear as he nurses a right knee injury.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org