The San Francisco 49ers are back for training camp, and rookie linebacker Reuben Foster has been fully cleared to practice. Kyle Shanahan also indicated that for the time being, it appears the team will not need to place anybody on the PUP or NFI lists to open camp.
Foster had rotator cuff surgery before the NFL Combine, and before and after the draft there was talk he might need more surgery, and might not be ready in time for the start of this season. That would appear to not be the case. Foster took part in individual workouts during OTAs and minicamp, but was not a full participant. He was doing some big hitting on the tackling dummies, but it was strictly solo work with the staff. He remained in Santa Clara after the offseason workout program and by all accounts has been hard at work in his rehab.
Foster’s availability will make for a fascinating competition at linebacker. Prior to his clearance, the starting linebackers were NaVorro Bowman in the middle, and Ahmad Brooks and Malcolm Smith at strong and weak side linebacker, respectively. Foster will likely compete with Smith, but he’ll also potentially get a chance to push Bowman at middle linebacker. Getting full drills from day one of camp is huge for Foster’s chances of getting a big role right out of the gate.