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NFL Notebook: Balmer signs

Associated Press
The NFL notebook …
SANTA CLARA, Calif. ó The San Francisco 49ers signed defensive lineman Kentwan Balmer on Thursday, getting their first-round draft pick into training camp a few hours before the team’s first meeting.
Balmer, a late-blooming star at North Carolina, was the 29th overall pick in April. He is the last of the 49ers’ six draft picks to sign, agreeing to a five-year contract and guaranteeing San Francisco will have no rookie holdouts for the fifth straight summer.
“It was definitely important for me to be here Day One, and that was something my agent and myself both stressed,” Balmer told reporters. “I’m sure the team was eager to hear that as well, and we got it done as expected.”
LIONS
ALLEN PARK, Mich. ó Caleb Campbell was a day away from practicing with the Detroit Lions and taking a step toward his dream of playing in the NFL.
“He was issued a helmet, ready to go,” coach Rod Marinelli said Wednesday.
Now, Campbell is closer to joining his fellow West Point graduates in Iraq or Afghanistan.
The U.S. Army revised its interpretation of U.S. Department of Defense policy two weeks ago regarding soldiers playing professional sports, requiring cadets to complete two years of active duty before applying for a release. Campbell and the Lions didn’t officially receive notice of the change until the eve of training camp.
“It’s unfortunate, but it doesn’t mean Caleb Campbell’s dream is dead. It just means it will be delayed,” Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Anne Edgecomb said.
PANTHERS
SPARTANBURG, S.C. ó The Carolina Panthers were working feverishly Thursday to reach deals with first-round picks Jonathan Stewart and Jeff Otah and avoid starting training camp with a rookie holdout for a second straight year.
Stewart, the 13th overall pick, and Otah, 19th, were among numerous unsigned first-round picks.
SENTENCED
MINNEAPOLIS ó Former Minnesota Vikings defensive lineman Darrion Scott on Thursday received a two-year stayed sentence for putting a plastic bag over his 2-year-old son’s head.
Scott, who was also fined $200, pleaded guilty earlier this month to child endangerment and called his actions “stupid and reckless.”
Scott said he put the plastic bag over his son’s head to show the boy there was nothing to fear.
REDSKINS
ASHBURN, Va. ó Redskins rookie receiver Devin Thomas probably will miss the team’s first exhibition game after pulling his right hamstring in practice.
LIONS
ALLEN PARK, Mich. ó The Detroit Lions and cornerback Leigh Bodden have agreed on a $27 million, four-year contract extension.
RETIRING
DENVER ó Denver Broncos longtime receiver Rod Smith is retiring.

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