49ers DL Kentwan Balmer Goes AWOL

San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer is not at this morning's practice, and unlike the missed practices from earlier this week, today's absence is not excused.

"Kentwan Balmer is not excused from practice. He has been made aware that he's not excused, the team announced," reports Matthew Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. "In other words, Balmer is officially AWOL".

Balmer had been excused from training camp to tend to "personal issues", but was expected back for today's practice. Balmer is currently a central figure into the NCAA's investigation of the University of North Carolina football program.

Balmer, a UNC alum, paid for former teammates Marvin Austin and Cam Thomas' trip to a performance center in Westlake Village, California.

The team, and Balmer's agent, say that Balmer is dealing with a family matter.

Since chosen in the first-round of the 2008 NFL Draft, Balmer has been a bit of a disappointment. The 6-4, 315-pound Balmer hasn't been able to crack the 49ers' starting line-up, totaling just 19 tackles and a pass defensed in 27 games. Balmer injured his shoulder late in the 2009 season, but was reportedly healthy and looking forward to battling for a role on the defense.

By going AWOL, Balmer will be lucky if head coach Mike Singletary lets him back in the building. The 49ers plan to use the standard procedure for players under contract whose absences from training camp are unexcused.

Balmer faces daily fines of $15,888, and will likely receive a "5-Day Letter", which states the team's intention to place the player on the "Reserve/Left Squad" list. This designation prevents the player from playing this season.

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