Seahawks take a chance with AWOL Balmer


Seattle acquires defensive lineman from 49ers

RENTON, Wash. – The Seahawks acquired disgruntled defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer, a former first-round pick, in a trade with San Francisco Monday, giving the team another big body in a new-look defensive line.

The team announced that Balmer was traded for an undisclosed 2011 draft pick, but multiple reports said that San Francisco will receive a sixth-round pick as compensation.

Balmer never lived up to his first-round potential in San Francisco, and didn’t start a game in his two seasons there. He left the team last week with what began as an excused absence, but didn’t return to the team when expected. Balmer’s rocky relationship with the 49ers apparently didn’t scare Seattle away.

“We did a lot of homework on him to understand about his background…” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “What’s happened is in the past as far as we’re concerned and we feel real good about getting him in here to help us right away.”

Balmer didn’t arrive in town in time to practice with the team Monday, but could be practicing as soon as today. Seattle hadn’t made a roster move to clear space for Balmer as of Monday evening.

Balmer, a 6-foot-5, 315-pounder, can play tackle or end.

Balmer was picked with the 29th pick of the 2008 draft. In two seasons with the 49ers, Balmer had 40 tackles in 27 games.

Just last week, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll talked about Ray Willis possibly pushing Sean Locklear for the starting job at right tackle.

Instead, Willis will most likely miss the start of the season while recovering from knee surgery.

Carroll said the surgery shouldn’t end Willis’ season, but that he’ll likely missed the start of the regular season.

In his five-year career in Seattle, Willis has had a limited practice regimen because of knee problems, but last year he still managed to start all 16 games at right tackle.

Tatupu returns

Linebacker Lofa Tatupu, who had missed more than a week of training camp with a hamstring injury, returned to practice Monday. Carroll had previously said that Tatupu’s injury wasn’t serious. Because he has a history with hamstring injuries, the team will continue to be cautious with the Pro Bowl middle linebacker during the early stages of the season.

“It felt good,” Tatupu said. “It felt good. They’re bringing me along slowly, but it felt good. … I’ve been pretty anxious to get in there.”

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