Balmer's Rookie Diary, First Paycheck

Rookie Kentwan Balmer continues with his Rookie Diary, giving you some insight on what he did after his first NFL game, his lunch outing to the Cheesecake Factory and which one of his teammates does the best Kentwan Balmer impersonation.

After four preseason games, I felt ready to play in my first-ever NFL regular-season game, but it definitely went up a level. The older guys were telling me about it, and I didn't understand, but now I do. Tenacity and the energy they played with went way up. It was exciting to watch and be a part of. When those guys start hooting and hollering, going out there making plays – it made me want to go out there and make plays. I fed off that energy – it was definitely exciting.

I gotta give a shout out to my teammate Justin Smith, who played in every snap of the Arizona game. 72 reps – that speaks for itself. It's an inspiration watching him play that many snaps and giving it his all.

After my first ever game in the NFL, I went home and just chilled out with my folks, who were in town visiting.

On my day off on Tuesday, my folks and I went looking for some furniture, because hopefully I'll be moving into a new place fairly soon. I'm getting closer to my closing date, and am in the process of finalizing everything. Like I said before, I was mainly looking for a homely feel and something close to the stadium. I didn't need a pool or a Jacuzzi or anything like that, just a place to rest my head and have a place for my folks when they come to visit.

I was looking mainly at bedroom furniture, and like my house, I stuck with simple things, nothing too fancy. I'm just a simple man living a simple life.

Following our shopping trip, we ate lunch at the Cheesecake Factory and I ate Pasta since it is good carbs and helps you recover. I couldn't eat any cheesecake though since I'm trying to watch my figure. I'm really trying to look like Manny Lawson. It was definitely hard to say no, but Ahmad Brooks and I have a goal to get a six-pack (abdominal muscles) by the end of the season. I'm working on that, because not everyone comes by that naturally like my guy Manny.

Since my locker is next to Manny, we're always messing around and talking about which one of us went to the better school, because they are rivals. North Carolina, we're looking tough this year, and I'm looking forward to the rematch against NC State. I think they cheated us last year. We own them in basketball already, but football is coming too.

The older heads on the team have been great teammates, but they seem to like doing impersonations of me all the time. I don't know who does the best one. I think it's a tie between Ronald Fields and Jeff Ulbrich.

Brick has a pretty good impersonation. It doesn't really bother me though. We're teammates and everybody likes to mess with each other. Everybody is family. They might be on me one minute, they might be on someone else the next. You have to have thick skin and know that it's all in fun. When it comes down to it, we're all going to take care of business together.

On Wednesday after practice, I received my first NFL paycheck. We get workout checks in the off-season, but once you start the regular-season you get your regular paychecks. I had to call Rod Green over to help me figure it out, because I didn't understand what was going on with my check and all of the different taxes.

It's strange to get paid for doing something you love, but it is a business, and a job. I am constantly reminded of that, particularly when my training camp roommate and close friend, Louis Holmes, was released from our practice squad. I try to understand this is a business and it's a high performance business. I've learned that from guys like Aubrayo Franklin, who has his locker next to mine. He tells me every day, "You have to go out there and perform, because somebody is working to get your spot."

And that's what I try to do - practice hard every day.

But I did send Lou a couple of text messages. Lou is doing well, he'll bounce back. He's competitive and a hard worker, so I know he'll be fine.

This week, our game against Seattle should be a real crazy experience, because from what everyone tells me, it's a loud spot. I try not to feed into all that. I just try to focus on what I gotta do.
My old heads they tell me, "When we go somewhere, don't get caught up in the crowd and start looking around. We are there for one reason, to get the W." That's the mentality I'm taking with me.
I don't try to get caught up in listening to the fans. I just need to focus on my assignment every time I put my hand on the ground to line up.

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