Tuesday afternoon we learned of a rather frightening story involving San Francisco 49ers linebackers Reuben Foster and Ray-Ray Armstrong. Following the team’s return from Washington, they went to a club in San Francisco, and were nearly robbed at gunpoint. Foster and Armstrong ran from the would-be robbers, and thankfully were OK. The 49ers announced they both are OK and are working with the police investigation.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan met with the media on Wednesday, and was asked about the incident. He was thankful they were OK, but the follow-up question provided Shanahan a chance to offer some useful insight on the lives of players.
There were some questions about Foster off the field coming out of the draft, and the kind of support system he might need. Shanahan was asked if he had any concern about Foster being out at a club late at night.
Shanahan went into some detail about the way the players’ week operates, and what it means for when it is OK to be out vs. when it might be a bit more questionable. The players weekend is effective Monday and Tuesday, which makes Sunday night like their Friday night. He talked about trying to avoid bad situations, but he also recognized that young players are going to enjoy themselves and go out.
It was a very logical answer, but not one we hear from coaches regularly. I imagine there was a chat after the incident, but Shanahan seems comfortable treating the players like the grown-ups they are, and not like children. Here’s his full answer.
“I think you can look at that a bunch of different ways. I don’t think everyone totally knows our exact lifestyle. Sunday night after a game, I’m not making excuses for anyone, but to be honest with you, Monday, our first team meeting is at 1 o’clock. And we go over the game tape, and it’s all meetings — there’s nothing physical, there’s nothing on the field. Tuesday’s the players day off, then we see them Wednesday.
“Sunday night for 90 percent of this league, or whatever it is, that’s players’ Friday night. Monday night’s players’ Saturday. And everyone handles their free time different. I know, you gotta handle it right. When you’re in those situations, you gotta be careful, as hopefully they learn from being in that situation.
“But I also want to keep perspective, that when guys do decide to have a night out, they don’t have a big thing the next day, I want them to handle themselves right, protect our team. But I’m not gonna get mad at a guy for putting in the work all week, those guys grinding, and then deciding to go out and do what I think most people do at their age, at that time. I know the report was at 2 and stuff, which is a little bit after when it happened. And i also know that’s the time those bars close. You want guys to stay out of trouble, not put them self in that situation.
“I think I'd feel a lot differently if that was a Thursday night, if it was a different night of the week. But just to be honest with you guys, some days it’s a little different schedule for people in the NFL.”