AWOL 49er in Even More Trouble

By Joe Kukura
|  Wednesday, Aug 11, 2010  |  Updated 3:00 PM PDT
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Kentwan Balmer may be gone soon.

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"He'll be back!," yelled San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Singletary Tuesday afternoon, when asked by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat if the Niners' absent defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer would return for Wednesday morning practice.

Now we're not so sure.

Wednesday morning practice came and went, and no sign of Kentwan Balmer. Meanwhile, Balmer has been named in an NCAA recruiting scandal, and Singletary is indicating that Balmer might not be a 49er for much longer.

And you thought the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau was having a bad day.

The NCAA recruiting scandal may or may not have anything to do with Balmer's mysterious absence. But the News & Observer reported Wednesday that Balmer had paid airfare for college players, allegedly so they could meet with Balmer's agent before going pro.

But this may be the least of Kentwan Balmer's worries. Sounds like a certain Samurai Mike has half a mind to kick Balmer off the 49ers roster right now.

"I told Kentwan to be here this morning. He's not here," Singletary told the Sacramento Bee, in his best about-to-cut-a-player voice. "He is under contract and the fact that he's not here, that speaks to me."

Singletary then told the Bee that the Niners "probably would have to bring in another player" to take Balmer's spot. This does not bode well for Balmer's future with the team.
 
If he's cut, Balmer would be the first 2008 first-round draft pick to be cut by the team that drafted him.
 
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who's sure that Vernon Gholston would be thrilled to no longer be known as the biggest bust of the 2008 Draft.

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