The 49ers chose defensive tackle Kentwan Balmer with their first pick in the 2008 NFL Draft because of his size, strength and athleticism, so it's a good thing the tape wasn't rolling when they contacted the North Carolina standout on Saturday.
"It was real hard to grasp…I actually fell out of my chair," said Balmer. "I was laughing and had a few tears coming down because this has been my family's team for a long time, as long as I can remember. I think it's real fitting for me to be here."
Balmer arrived late on Sunday night after experiencing flight delays in Dallas, but his first visit to the Bay Area and the 49ers facility was worth the wait.
"I'm still soaking it in but when I saw those five Super Bowls I was kind of overwhelmed," said Balmer at his mid-morning press conference. "Seeing the rings and the guys who are in those photos (on the walls), it's humbling. You just want to work as hard as you can to get where those guys were and we want to get this organization back to that point."
Balmer met head coach Mike Nolan over an early morning breakfast before making his way over to the facility where he then met his new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula.
"He's a handful and I love him to death," said Balmer of Tomsula. "We have the same intensity in mind. He's going to coach me hard to get the best out of me and I want the best out of myself."
Balmer also enjoyed seeing his locker for the first time, and the opportunity to meet a few of his new 49ers teammates including Nate Clements, Manny Lawson and Patrick Willis.
"Those are guys who I watched get drafted and watched them play and now I'm about to play with them," said Balmer. "It's so unreal right now. You've got the big brothers there, you are the new kid on the block, small change and I'm enjoying it. They seem like they want me here and I'm just going to follow them and learn from them."
Over the weekend, Nolan and general manager Scot McCloughan both discussed the importance of having a player like Balmer in the 3-4 defense who can keep guys off of their Pro Bowler, as well as the rest of the linebackers.
"I don't mind," said Balmer of taking on that role. "I don't mind at all. He's going to be the guy. He's a Pro Bowler and I'm going to give it up for the team Whatever I have to do – like I said if I have to bite someone's leg off I'm going to do that. This is what it is about. Whenever I put my hand down, whatever my coaches ask me to do, that's what I'm going to do. We have good players on the defense like Patrick Willis and Nate Clements and I'm going to do whatever I can to help those guys. It's not about me, it's about us. That's how I'm going into this situation."
Balmer will soon get a chance to take the field and show his teammates what he brings to the table at the team's mandatory mini camp this Friday, but he's already ready to make them and the 49ers Faithful like himself a promise.
"If they want me to kick, long snap, run down on the kickoff – I'll do it and do it faithfully," said Balmer. "I just am so proud to be here and I'm going to give everything I've got to this organization and this team."