49ers S Bethea exits game vs. Denver with concussion

49ers S Bethea exits game vs. Denver with concussion
August 17, 2014, 2:00 pm
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Antoine Bethea has played every regular season game for the past six seasons. (AP)

Programming note: For comprehensive 49ers-Broncos coverage from Santa Clara, tune in to SportsNet Central tonight at 4:30, 6, 10:30 and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

SANTA CLARA – 49ers starting strong safety Antoine Bethea sustained a concussion early in the second quarter of the 49ers’ home exhibition opener against the Denver Broncos.

He was immediately ruled out for the remainder of the game. Bethea must pass the NFL concussion protocol in order to be cleared for a return to practices and games.

Bethea sustained the injury on a play in which Broncos running back C.J. Anderson gained 1 yard on a running play.

[RELATED: Kaepernick plays two series against Broncos]

The 49ers signed Bethea to a four-year, $21 million contract in the offseason to replace Donte Whitner, who signed with the Cleveland Browns.

Bethea spent the first eight years of his NFL career with the Indianapolis Colts. He has played every regular-season game for the past six seasons.

Veteran Craig Dahl replaced Bethea at strong safety. Four plays later, Dahl was in coverage as Peyton Manning hit tight end Julius Thomas for a 17-yard touchdown pass to give the Broncos a 10-0.

San Francisco kicker Phil Dawson missed field-goal attempts of 55 and 44 yards.