After Richard Sherman signed his contract with the San Francisco 49ers the very first place Sherman went was to Reuben Foster’s court appearance to support his teammate. It was Foster’s first appearance after being charged with three felonies including one of domestic violence.
Sherman was brought onboard to be a mentor-like figure to the very young 49ers defensive squad and lived up to that with Foster, “supporting a teammate.” The two would form a bond, with Sherman having a locker next to Foster and the two having one-on-one time every day.
That bond may not be broken, but the leadership Sherman has shown will come to an end with the recent Foster arrest and subsequent release. Foster will now be on his own.
“I was disappointed, I think everybody is,” Sherman said during his post game press conference with the media, after the 49ers lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-9. “He’s a great kid, it’s unfortunate that this situation keeps coming up. I’m sorry to hear that it happened, but you just wish the best for the kid.”
Sherman noted the players were not aware of what happened the night before, saying bed-check happened at 10:30 P.M. They were notified of the news the next day, with many players waking up to it.
Sherman was quick to point out that even with the arrest, Foster had been making improvement. Even with his less than desirable upbringing, Foster showed progress. Sherman brought up the frequent moves, lack of parental guidance, and that despite it all, Foster managed a scholarship to Alabama and a path to the NFL.
“It’s tough to develop the skills that you need to make your way in the world and he was doing that. I think Austin Moss was doing a great job—our player engagement—and John [49ers general manager John Lynch] and Kyle [49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan] and everybody was doing their part to make sure he stayed on the right track. He was working hard, he knew his deficiencies, he knew what he had to do and it’s unfortunate that this situation keeps coming up.”
And it all now comes to an end. The 49ers traded up into the end of the first round to draft Foster with the 31st pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. Foster came with character concerns and issues on a surgically repaired shoulder, but lit the field up his rookie year, showing loads of promise. Not even two years later and the 49ers first round pick has been released.
“I think it’s what they had to do,” Sherman said when asked about the 49ers organization’s handling of the situation. “ I think the organization has handled the situation as best they could. Obviously have been patient, and deliberate and trusting and understanding of who Reuben is and what kind of heart he has, but it’s really a compromising situation to put the team in repeatedly.”
Foster will hit waivers and if no claims are made by 1:00 PM PST Monday, he becomes a free agent, available to sign to any team. In the meantime, the former 49ers linebacker will be subject to a legal investigation once again, as well as discipline under the NFL’s personal conduct policy. If not claimed off waivers, the 49ers would carry $3,678,954 in dead money this year and $2,355,660 in dead money next year.
We don’t yet know fully what happened in the hotel that led to the police being called. We have an affidavit of allegations levied by the alleged victim. This alleged victim recanted previous allegations against Foster during the offseason. We still don’t fully know what happened then as well, leaving us with a situation in which we likely will never full know the facts of either situation.
After Sunday’s game, Sherman said, “I’m not going to speak on what happened [Saturday evening], because I don’t know what happened.” This followed John Lynch’s own comments that he was not going to speak to what specifically happened Saturday evening. Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan both said the release was not a comment specifically on the domestic violence arrest, but rather, “a comment on him not living up to what we had communicated” regarding rules put in place after his previous two offseason arrests.