The San Francisco 49ers entered the 2018 offseason coming off a strong close to the 2017 season that suggested they were closing in on contender status. It might be too soon to declare them Super Bowl contenders, but they would appear ready to climb into the mix for a playoff spot.
Jimmy Garoppolo was a primary reason for the optimism, but Reuben Foster’s emergence on defense had people excited. That quickly turned to concern as he was arrested for marijuana possession, and then later arrested on suspicion of domestic violence and a weapons possession charge.
The 49ers have been relatively quiet while figuring out Foster’s situation and determining how they want to proceed. But Tim Kawakami’s latest column suggests the team is confident in Foster’s future, and don’t think he will face a particularly severe punishment based on his actions.
The 49ers don’t know exactly how all this will resolve legally in the short term, and Foster could be facing an NFL suspension to start 2018 almost no matter what. But I’ve heard that the 49ers at this point don’t believe he did anything that will lead to severe punishment and that they fully intend to support him and keep him on the roster. That is, of course, if he can stay out of trouble from now on.
Today marks one month since Foster was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, making criminal threats, and illegal weapons possession. Given that Foster remains on the roster, it is not entirely surprising that the team would feel this way. Additionally, more about the case will become known over the next ten days. The Santa Clara DA’s office has until Tuesday, March 13th to decide whether or not to file charges against Foster. Additionally, he has a March 21st court date in Alabama for his marijuana possession charge.
That March 13th date is a big one for figuring out next steps in this process. If the DA decides not to press charges, it does not mean Foster still won’t face NFL discipline. A lack of charges does not mean innocence, particularly in domestic violence cases, but it also could mean the 49ers feel comfortable with the fact that more aggravating evidence does not come available. Of course, if the DA does decide to press charges, it doesn’t guarantee anything with regard to a release, but does suggest there is some evidence that is worth noting for the 49ers.
It will make for an important next ten days.