A recap of the Seahawks’ practice at Bing Training Camp:
Kentwan Balmer. Acquired in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers on Monday, the former first-round draft choice practiced with the Seahawks for the first time this afternoon.
Want to know just what happened in San Francisco? You can ask, as reporters did after practice, but Balmer has moved on and is all about getting a fresh start with the Seahawks.
“I would like to thank the Seattle Seahawks for giving me a chance, and I’d like to thank the 49ers for allowing me to move on,” Balmer said. “I’m just here, happy and ready to compete.”
The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Balmer got some reps in team drills, working at the three-technique tackle spot as well as the five-technique end position. Balmer played end his first two seasons at North Carolina and tackle his final two seasons for the Tar Heels.
But what went wrong in San Francisco? “I’m sure the 49ers have turned the page, so have I,” Balmer said. “I’m happy to be a Seattle Seahawk and I’m just moving forward.”
So what was the meeting like with 49ers coach Mike Singletary last week when Balmer decided to leave the team to take care of a personal matter? “Like I said, what happened in San Francisco is in San Francisco,” he said. “I’m happy to be here as a Seattle Seahawk.”
Has that personal matter been resolved? “Yes sir, I would definitely say so,” Balmer said. “I had some time to stay in shape and get my mind right. Like I said, I’m turning the page and I’m pretty sure they’ve moved on as well.”
One thing Balmer did want to talk about was being reunited with defensive lineman E.J. Wilson, a fourth-round draft choice who played with Balmer at North Carolina and has been his friend since high school.
“That’s lovely, man,” Balmer said. “That’s lovely having a guy who can help you that you have a lot of personal experience with at Carolina. It’s great having him here. That’s a blessing.”
Balmer also knows D-line coach Dan Quinn, who worked Balmer out two years ago before the draft when Quinn was working for the New York Jets.
“We kind of hit it off,” Balmer said. “He understands me as a person. I love him as a coach. He’s a fiery guy. He’s my type of person, my type of coach. Like I said, I’m happy to be here with him, as well as the other coaches in the Seahawks organization as a whole.”
Offensive line. The coaches began to move on without Ray Willis, who will have arthroscopic surgery to repair damaged cartilage in a knee and be sidelined beyond the Sept. 12 regular-season opener against the 49ers at Qwest Field.
Willis started all 16 games at right tackle last season, and was expected to compete with Sean Locklear for the job this summer.
Without Willis, the No. 1 line remains the same with – from left tackle to right – Russell Okung, Ben Hamilton, Chris Spencer, Max Unger and Locklear. But Mansfield Wrotto is now at left tackle with the No. 2 line, where Willis was getting most of his work. In practice today, the rest of the No. 2 consisted of Steve Vallos at left guard, where Wrotto and Mike Gibson had been working; Jeff Byers at center, because Vallos was at guard; and a right side of guard Mitch Erickson and tackle Joe Toledo.
“That’s a concern right now, it is,” Carroll said of losing his only experienced backup tackle. “We’re going to have to work on this and fix this thing up a little bit right now.”
JUST FOR KICKS
Clint Stitser was signed today because veteran kicker Olindo Mare has been bothered by a sore calf. Stitser was signed by the New York Jets in April, but released in May. He was out of football the past two seasons after kicking at Fresno State from 2003-07.
Stitser handled the field-goal duties in practice, converting three of five attempts. His second miss came on a 53-yard attempt, with several defensive linemen trying to intimidate him as he lined up for the kick.
Defensive lineman Lawrence Jackson practiced for the first time since Aug. 5. Jackson had been sidelined because of a hamstring situation.
Wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh was excused for a second consecutive day because of a family matter.
Still sidelined: defensive linemen Kevin Vickerson, Nick Reed, Ricky Foley and Jonathan Lewis and linebacker Leroy Hill; as well as guard Chester Pitts and cornerback Josh Pinkard, who remain on the physically-unable-to-perform list.
The players have two more practices before camp breaks. They will practice at 1:30 on Wednesday and Thursday.
They also have a final tune-up starting at 11 a.m. Friday for Saturday night’s preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Qwest Field.
STUFF THE BUS
Fans attending Saturday night’s game are asked to donate school supplies for the team’s annual “Stuff the Bus” drive that benefits Communities in Schools of Seattle (CISS). All supplies will be given to Seattle schools with the highest percentages of free and reduced lunches.
CISS supplied 28 schools with donated items last year. Needed supplies include backpacks, notebooks, crayons, rulers and folders.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Nah. Nah. Not at all. Not at all. There’s no hard feelings.” – Balmer, when asked if he was circling Sept. 12 on his calendar because his new team will play his old team in the their regular-season opener