49ers DL Kentwan Balmer returned to the practice field today

There was one particularly interesting tweet that came through today from Matt Maiocco:

Kentwan Balmer is on 49ers practice field this morning.

The team had projected a June return for Balmer, so this puts him right on schedule following his shoulder surgery. And while it's not some monstrous piece of news, it's certainly good news that Balmer did not have any setbacks in his recovery from the surgery. He has struggled through his first two seasons in the NFL and is edging perilously close to bust territory (some have already labeled him a bust).

Now that Balmer is healthy, he'll need to take advantage of any and all practice time he can get. He's got three seasons remaining on his contract, but if he doesn't start making some kind of impact soon, he might not be long for this world as a 49er. The timing of his return is a bit interesting given Ray McDonald's DUI. McDonald was on the practice field today so we don't know yet how that will play out in terms of any potential benching or suspension.

On the one hand, Balmer and McDonald bring different aspects to the defensive line, with McDonald being more of a pure pass rusher. However, with both playing defensive end, any diminished playing time for McDonald would potentially benefit Balmer. Whatever the case may be, it'll be interesting to see how Balmer's development progresses now that he's hopefully healthy again.

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