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Balmer's Rookie Diary, Take Flight


Rookie Kentwan Balmer continues with his Rookie Diary, giving you some insight into his first airplane flight to play a road game (week one included a road trip via bus to Oakland), and the offiically breaking of camp.

So I finished my column last week before we left for Chicago, thinking I was going to have to rush off to KFC. Coach Nolan had Popeye's delivered here so that saved a lot of time and headaches. I just had to transport it to the bus and onto the plane and then make sure my d-linemen had what they wanted. I can see going forward it will be a little complicated though because bringing it for the d-line isn't like bringing it for the DBs. These big guys like to eat. But for this trip, I think everybody got what they wanted and were happy.

Traveling with the NFL is better than college. You get a lot of space and nobody has to worry about getting a middle seat, but with the older guys here, they've got it all mapped out. You do have to kind of find a seat that's not taken.

I had a fun time on the plane ride. We got a chance to laugh and kick back and enjoy each other a bit. Ron Fields was behind me for a little while, and then Frank Gore sat there for a bit. They all just made me feel very welcomed, messing with me constantly and just joking on me.
They had a movie on for the whole plane load, but I watched this movie on my own player called Belly – with DMX in it. I had my attention on that for a bit and then fell asleep, woke up and we were already in Chicago.

So I slept through most of the food service, but I'm a cookie monster and I did smell those coming down the aisle, and when that tray went by, I grabbed a couple.

Chilo Rachal and I went over to the Cheesecake Factory once we got checked in over at the hotel. It was close, so I think that's where a lot of guys ended up eating.

We had the whole day pretty much to relax on Thursday, and so I just stayed in my room. I looked over my playbook a bunch because I wanted to make sure I didn't have any mental breakdowns.

The game was better. I continue to feel more comfortable and I corrected some things that I had messed up on in the first two games. I'm getting there, slowly but surely.

I stayed up for our flight home, which was great after the win, but once we got on that bus ride from SFO Airport back to Santa Clara, I was out.

We had Friday off, and it was also the day to break camp, but I wasn't going anywhere so it didn't really make that much of a difference to me. I watched the film, relaxed, stayed off my feet, watched movies in my room, and ate some calamari. That was about it. There's still a handful of guys over there at the hotel. Most of the vets went to their homes, but the rookies are mostly still waiting to close on homes or apartments.

It is nice not having curfew anymore, and no more knocks on the door anymore at 11 though. I am glad that we did have curfew for that month however because it gave me some structure and helped me get in a routine. I'm still in bed by 11 now so I appreciated it.

My favorite drill during all of camp was 9 on 7 inside runs. It was very competitive and I think we were all getting the best out of each other. The best part of camp in general was definitely the camaraderie and relationships that I built with the guys. I had to sing a few times, and I don't think they ever thought I got any better. Hopefully, that's behind me.

I actually made it through camp without having to buy the big dinner. But it is coming soon. I've been getting warnings. Michael Lewis was just on me about it, so I know my time is running out and that a pretty nice sized tab is coming my way. But, we all have to pay our dues. Next year it will be someone else.

The best part of camp being over is that I have a little more free time to do different things that I need to get done. I'm trying to find my way around still, and still get settled here. I've started doing some price comparisons on furniture for my place. The only thing I know for sure is that I'm getting a California King bed. Those things are in a class by themselves when it comes to getting a good night of rest.

One thing that was strange this weekend was when they made the first round of cuts. One day a guy is here, the next he's gone. This is a business, and it comes with the territory. But, I am just glad I'm not the one making those decisions because I imagine that is a tough thing to do.

I'm excited about playing in this final preseason game against San Diego. I just want to bring it all together and end this portion of my career on a positive night so that I start the regular season off right.

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