For a guy that was selected 29th overall in the 2008 draft, has not made one NFL start and only has 19 tackles with no sacks in 27 games, Kentwan Balmer’s absence from training camp this week is not smart and is not sitting well with Mike Singletary. Balmer was given Monday and Tuesday off for personal reasons however he was a no show for practice on Wednesday which was not excused by Singletary.
“I told Kentwan to be here this morning. He was not. I don’t know what he’s doing but there is not going to be any phone calls, ‘Kentwan, what are you doing?’ I’m done with that. All I’m concerned about are the guys out here,” said Singletary.
ESPN has reported that the personal issue Balmer is dealing with has to do with an NCAA investigation of his alma mater University of North Carolina. Balmer allegedly paid for former UNC player Cam Thomas and current UNC player Marvin Austin to travel with him to work out at the Proactive Sports Performance in Westlake Village, CA in 2009. Thomas is currently on the San Diego Chargers while Austin may not play until the investigation is over. UNC does not want to play Austin while the investigation is ongoing because if he is deemed to have broken the “preferential treatment” rule any games he plays in UNC will have to forfeit the wins.
The issue here is not UNC but Balmer being unable to handle the situation without it affecting his role with the 49ers. Balmer so far has been a bust and regulated to the bench in his two seasons in the NFL. He missed the last month of last season due to injury and he was expected to win the starting job at defensive tackle. Now not only is his starting role in jeopardy but his roster spot is as well. Singletary was not happy when Balmer did not show up on Wednesday and showed it by working out an undisclosed defensive end on Wednesday. Read this exchange between Singletary and reporters.
I think what Singletary is upset about the most is that Balmer has made no contact with Singletary or the 49ers since he has gone missing. The 49ers plan to fine Balmer the maximum amount of $16,000 per day for each practice he misses. There are three options the 49ers have if Balmer does not return to camp:
- Waive him under the left squad designation
- Request a roster exemption from the commissioner
- Send Balmer a five-day notice saying the 49ers intend to place him on the season-ending reserve/left squad list
Balmer is signed under contract with the 49ers through 2012.
Training camps are always going to have distractions but this one seems unnecessary. I guess this is an indication of why Balmer has not produced up to the expectations the 49ers thought he was able to perform. If someone can’t handle a personal issue in the two days you are excused and you don’t show up for practice when you are expected maybe a starting job is too much for Balmer to handle as well.