Updated update 8/11/10: Balmer has been placed on the "left squad" list and the 49ers have been given a roster exemption for his slot. I'm doing some more research but I believe this means they still retain his rights, so they can sign him back to the active roster if they choose, down the road. Dan Brown of the Merc knocked on Balmer's door yesterday and was told by KB that he would meet with Singletary, though the team denied any such meeting was scheduled. Another bizarre twist is that despite placing Balmer on the left squad list, the 49ers cancelled the workout with DE Tukuafu they had previously set up.
News out of 49ers training camp 8/10/10 is that Kentwan Balmer is not in attendance, though he was expected to be present. The 49ers made it clear to beat writers on the scene that Balmer's absence was unexcused. This comes just days after Mike Singletary explained Balmer's Monday absence from practice as Kentwan having "personal issues".
Some light research dug up a few articles on Balmer's involvement in two University of North Carolina players being flown out to California to train at the facility owned and operated by Balmer's agent Gary Wichard.
UNC Defensive lineman Marvin Austin stated that Balmer paid for the trip, raising questions on Balmer's relationship with Austin as well as Cam Thomas (NT taken by the Chargers in 2010 draft) as well as questions about Balmer's role as a potential runner for his agent.
It would appear that Balmer is in the middle of something potentially ugly at this point and is seeking legal advice and/or preparing for any questions the NCAA will surely have regarding the allegations. This would certainly explain his absence however Balmer has also been unhappy about his position on the depth chart thus far.
He was quoted last year by Dan Brown of the Mercury in this piece:
I asked the defender if last year's lack of production was because he wasn't ready, or because he just didn't get the opportunity.
Balmer, wanting to remain diplomatic, clearly was agitated by the question. He started and stopped several times, shaking his head and laughing.
"I felt like I was ready," he finally answered. "I mean, I felt like I had a good preseason. But it ain't up to me who gets an opportunity, you know what I'm saying? I felt like I was ready, but obviously that wasn't the case. You turn on the preseason film and you make your own judgment."
For whatever reason he is AWOL at this point, the next step is relatively clear: The 49ers will likely send Balmer what's known as a "5-day letter" informing him that if he does not return to the team in five days, they can exercise their right to waive him and sever the contract. The Raiders were forced to send this same letter to Richard Seymour in 2009 after he failed to report to the team after being traded by the New England Patriots.
At any rate I would not be surprised to hear in the next few days that the 49ers have cut Balmer and signed a replacement. This would be particularly troubling for me as I recently purchased a Balmer jersey on clearance for about $30 on NFL.com. It hasn't been worn but I feel it's value will hit it's ceiling should Balmer in fact be released.
Update 8/10/10: Balmer's agent, Gary Wichard, says his absence has nothing to do with the NCAA investigation (that both Balmer and his agent are involved with). That settles it then...ok, nope.