49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

April 28, 2008
Balmer wearing No. 67 ... for now

***Update*** The 49ers also have a verbal agreement with UFA OL Brian de la Puente of Cal.

Just spoke on a conference call with Kentwan Balmer, who seemed like he was on Cloud 9 (49?) after being drafted on Saturday. We were supposed to have had met him at a press conference yeterday but he missed his original flight, then ran into delays in Texas. The first thing he did when he got on the phone was apologize for missing the press conference yesterday.

It was clear from talking to Balmer that he has always had a defensive mentality. When he and his older brothers and cousins would play tag, Balmer wouldn't just tag his playmates. He would tackle them. "And I got a lot of whuppings for it," he recalled with a laugh. He also remembered the time he and a cousin, who was seven years older than him, ran into each other while playing outside. The collision left the older boy with a bump on his head that Balmer described as a "unicorn horn." Balmer said he and that cousin, Shaun Stevenson, were fondly recounting the incident on Saturday when he was drafted.

As far as what position he would play, Balmer said he didn't know yet. He said he currently weighed 311 pounds but wasn't sure whether the 49ers would want him to get heavier to play nose tackle or lighter to play defensive end. He's also not sure which number he will wear. For now, he's been saddled with ugly No. 67. Asked if he would be happy with that as his permanent number, a laughing Balmer said, "No comment. That's the number they wanted me to have. ... As long as I have a 49ers logo on my helmet, I'm content."

Balmer said he was picked up at the airport by defensive line coach Jim Tomsula and has been meeting various 49ers this morning. He even got an autograph from Nate Clements "because I'm still a fan of this game." Balmer also got his first-ever autograph request outside of his San Jose hotel. He said he didn't know how to react, so he scribbled "Go 49ers" instead of his name. "I was a little embarassed," he said.

On Sunday, Mike Nolan compared center Cody Wallace to former 49er Jeremy Newberry. But it will be Chilo Rchal, not Wallace, who wears Newberry's old No. 62.

Chilo Rachal: No. 62
Cody Wallace: No. 65
Reggie Smith: No. 31
Josh Morgan: No. 84
Larry Grant: No. 57

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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