Why Was Kiper Only Guy On Balmer Bandwagon?

Current Seahawks defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer is a former first round pick (29th overall) taken by the San Francisco 49ers in the 2008 NFL Draft. During his first two seasons with the Niners, Balmer not only didn’t record a single sack, but failed to start a game.

Mel Kiper John Blake Kentwan Balmer

(Balmer in two NFL years: No sacks, no starts)

He also failed to show up for training camp this season, forcing the 49ers to trade him to the Seattle Seahawks in August for a sixth-round pick in order to realize any value for what might’ve been the worst first round pick of the 2008 draft.

Yesterday George Dohrmann of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED had the sordid, first-person story of Josh Luchs, a former longtime NFL agent who admitted to Dohrmann that he paid current college players while recruiting them as clients.

In his commentary to Dohrmann about his unsavory deeds, Luchs cited NFL Agent Gary Wichard as having what some might consider undue influence over ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper as it pertained to the agent’s clients:

Gary also used his contacts in the media to help him recruit. In 2000, before a meeting with Stanford defensive lineman Willie Howard, Gary arranged for ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper to call. Gary and I were talking to Willie in Gary’s office when Gary’s phone rang, and he put it on speakerphone.

“Viper, how are you?” Gary said. That’s what he called Mel, Viper or Vipe. “Viper, I’m sitting here with the best defensive lineman in college football. Do you know who that is?”

“You must be with Willie Howard,” Mel said.

Gary used Mel like that all the time. In the agent business, people know Gary and Mel are close, and some people suspect that Mel ranks players more favorably if they are Gary’s clients.

Kiper has sinced denied showing Wichard clients any favoritism in his NFL Draft analysis over the years.

With that in mind, I thought I’d examine Kiper’s treatment of current Wichard client Balmer, who has been in the news recently not only because of his trade to Seattle, but thanks to alleged impropriety of his former position coach at North Carolina, John Blake.

Former UNC Assistant Blake was recently accused of being a “runner” for Wichard by recruiting current college players for the L.A.-area based NFL agent. Despite having resigned as a coach for the Tarheels, Blake’s bio remains on the official North Carolina football website.

Here’s an excerpt from that bio:

In three seasons at UNC, Blake has sent five defensive linemen to the NFL, including 2008 first-round draft pick Kentwan Balmer. Blake earned rave reviews from NFL Draft analysts for his ability to develop Balmer into a first-round selection in just one year of coaching.

“Kentwan had a great senior year under the tutelage of John Blake, who I think is one of the best defensive line coaches at any level,” said ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

Before the Niners took former UNC Tarheel Balmer in the 2008 NFL Draft, Tom Margeneau of the DAILY OKLAHOMAN wrote of Blake in a “Cheers and Jeers” column:

Cheers: To John Blake, who is drawing rave reviews from NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. for Blake’s work with defensive linemen, first Nebraska’s Adam Carriker, who went 13th overall to the Rams in the 2007 draft, and now North Carolina’s Kentwan Balmer, who has shot into first-round projections.

If you pore over Kiper’s mock drafts leading up to the NFL Draft in 2008, he ranked Balmer’s draft status well above where Balmer was projected by many other distinguished draft experts - including Mike Mayock of NFL Network, Todd McShay of ESPN and Scouts, Inc., Rick Gosselin of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS and Don Banks of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.

Before the 2008 Senior Bowl and NFL combine, in his Jan. 22, 2008, mock draft, Kiper projected Balmer as a tenth overall selection going to the New Orleans Saints. On Feb. 20, the first day of the 2008 combine, Balmer was Kiper’s 12th selection in his first round projections. Read more…

Video: KC Chiefs Lineman Smith Is Genital Giant

49ers offensive lineman Anthony Davis accused Chiefs defensive lineman Shaun Smith of grabbing him in the groin region last Sunday in Kansas City.

Video: Shaun Smith grabs Anthony Davis

(Hed Slap: Dan Patrick Show)

The video below confirms the claim by Davis.
Read more…

49ers Offer Ancient History Class For 8-Year-Olds

The blog Dodgy at Best has a photo of two eight-year-olds outside The Stick last Sunday:

We've Got Five Super Bowl Rings Bitch 49ers T-Shirts

This is by far the greatest thing we saw all day, and possibly ever at a football game… Read more…

Remembering The Happiest NFL Team In History

Paul Lukas of UniWatchBlog.com has this photo today of a San Francisco 49ers rookie hazing from 1957:

San Francisco Gay 49ers Revue Photo With Joe Perry

The only player identified in the photo is pro football Hall of Famer Joe Perry in his civvies on the far right .

Lest you think Perry, nicknamed the “Swinging Deacon,” wasn’t known at the time for playing both sides of the record, check out this image from ‘54: Read more…

Claim: NFLer Sex Assault On Transgender Woman

Leo Standora and Alison Gendar of the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS report:

Eric Green

A transgender New Yorker has filed a $10 million sex assault suit against an NFL player - and in a separate action is also suing the city, saying she was abused and humiliated by cops. Angelina Mavilia’s legal action against San Francisco 49ers cornerback Eric Green alleges he forcibly sodomized her.

The assault allegedly took place after the two met in a Phoenix-area last year, when Green was still a member of the Arizona Cardinals.

Read more…

Claim: Stubblefield Threatened To Murder His Ex

KGO-TV in San Francisco reports that Dana Stubblefield is under a restraining by his former fiancee after she accused him of trying to kill her, among other things. After having already lied to the Feds about doing steroids in the BALCO case, Stubblefield could very well be sent to prison if the new allegations is true.

Dana Stubblefield Girlfriend Photos Melanie Wade Photos

(Dana Stubblefield’s ex-girlfriend Melanie Wade)

Melanie Wade was only four days away from being wed to Stubblefield when she backed out of the three-year relationship last month.

To say that Stubblefield didn’t take that rejection well is an understatement. Allegedly. Read more…

Crabtree To Start For 49ers Sunday … Wait, What?

So Mike Singletary all but confirmed to the SANTA ROSA PRESS DEMOCRAT that Michael Crabtree would start against the Texans on Sunday. This was a ludicrous notion as recently as 12 hours ago, when Crabs was still wearing the helmet seen below so that teammates could identify him.

Michael Crabtree

Also potentially troubling to 49ers fans: Their team’s playbook evidently can be learned with one night of light cramming. But here’s the lost amazing part of this tale. Crabtree hung around team headquarters over the bye weekend being tutored by fellow receiver Josh Morgan. In other words, Morgan helped Crabtree take his job.

I thought I lived in a land where giant-egoed Terrell Owenses, and Braylon Edwardses roamed in great wide receiver herds, chewing up all the attention and playing time for themselves. Morgan is an entirely different animal indeed. Read more…

49ers Formally Present Our Hero, Michael Crabtree

We covered all the bases on the Michael Crabtree signing yesterday, but I had to show you this photo from today’s 49ers press conference. The look on Mike Singletary’s face; the No. 15 practice jersey (sponsored by Visa!); the aw-shucks demeanor that belies a 71-day holdout. It’s all there. I smell Super Bowl!

Mike Singletary, Michael Crabtree

That is officially the most hilarious photo I’ve seen this week. And following the jump, an actual shot of Crabtree catching an NFL pass. And you thought you’d never see that. Plus some yummy Crabtree quotes, and when Singletary expects him to make his game debut. Read more…

49ers Sign Crabtree With Help Of ’80s Hip Hop Star

Sometime early this morning in a San Francisco hotel suite, with FOX SPORTS’ Jay Glazer lurking outside behind a large potted plant, the 49ers and receiver Michael Crabtree finally came to terms. First a “Seinfield” reunion, and now this? What miracle will God next bestow?

Michael Crabtree

First of all I’d like to thank the St. Louis Rams for making this all possible. Without your suckitude, the 49ers would not have scored a convincing 35-0 victory on Sunday, thus going to 3-1 and forcing Crabtree to realize that, as George Costanza would say, he has “no hand.” Also, what popular ’80s hip hop star inexplicably showed up at the negotiations with Crabtree? The answer of course is … Read more…

Lou Holtz Has Some Advice For Michael Crabtree

The scene: Lou Holtz’s office. Michael Crabtree knocks, and opens the door. LOU: “Ah, the pizza is here. Finally.” MICHAEL: “No, it’s me, Mr. Holtz. Michael Crabtree.” LOU: “You were wise to come to me, son. Please, sit down.” (There are no chairs in the office; only a tackling sled and a bowl of walnuts). LOU (still wearing bib from lunch): “Now what seems to be the problem, Matthew?”

Lou Holtz

The problem of course, is that the 49ers are 1-0, and Crabtree is still as far from being a 49er this season as Jerry Rice. In fact, as the ex-Texas Tech receiver’s holdout enters Week 71 (actual facts may vary), there’s talk of him sitting out two seasons before reentering the draft (which he’d have to do before being eligible for free agency).

Our favorite neighborhood coaching TV pundit thinks that’s crazy talk, of course. See the video below, in which Holtz addresses the whole mess in response to a question by Crabtree himself. Read more…