The San Francisco 49ers have been mostly silent with regard to Reuben Foster and his arrest on suspicion of domestic violence, criminal threats, and illegal weapon possession. The Santa Clara District Attorney’s office has not made a decision with regard to the charges, and so we continue to wait.
General manager John Lynch and the 49ers organization continue to wait as well. Lynch made an appearance on the Golic and Wingo radio show this morning, and they asked him about Foster. Here’s what the GM had to say:
“We’re monitoring it closely. We’ve had some really frank discussions with Reuben. Unfortunately, a lot of these things happen in the offseason, when we aren’t allowed to touch these guys. And that’s not an excuse, it’s just a reality. During the season, Reuben was great. His biggest issue during the season was staying healthy. But when he was on the field, he’s a difference-maker. He’s put himself in a couple of situations that you can’t put yourself in. We’re gonna hold off judgment and let the legal process work itself out.
“But, Reuben’s also really working on improving himself such that he’s equipped to make these decisions, who he’s surrounding himself with, what kind of situations he’s putting himself in. We’re gonna let that play out, but we believed in Reuben when we drafted him and we really want to right now. But he’s gotta make some strides as well. And I think he’s working hard to do that. We’ll see where that all ends out. But that’s part of the deal, the draft, all these things aren’t an exact science. You do the best to make good decisions, and the idea that you’re gonna have 53 choir boys, it’s just not a reality. But you do have to have men of character, and it’s something we stress, we look for that. We really felt when we drafted Reuben, yea, he grew up tough, but when you talk to people at Alabama, he’s one of the leaders. He made people, like I talked about Jimmy, he makes people around him better. But you also have to conduct yourself in a way off the field. And Reuben understands that, and like I said, he’s working hard towards that.”
There had been a report that the DA’s office had to make a decision on Foster’s charges last week. There was no news on it, and when I called the DA’s office, they said that was mistaken information. There is no public timeline on the DA’s decision-making process. They have to decide whether to press charges at all, and then whether to charge any of the crimes as misdemeanors or felonies.
I’d be curious to know what Foster is actually doing to “improve himself” and learn to make the proper decisions. We have not heard more since the initial reports as to what happened the night of his domestic violence arrest. There will continue to be speculation, and I am not expecting much more specific out of this.
The 49ers have heard Reuben Foster’s versions of the story, but we don’t know how much more they have investigated beyond that. Their decision about his roster spot might depend on what the DA decides. It will come down to how much they think they can believe Foster, and the DA’s decision may or may not impact that to some extent.
Lynch’s comments about this happening in the offseason raise a pertinent issue. The 49ers cannot keep an eye on Foster every minute of every day. They can keep an eye on him during team activities, but they have to reach a point some time where they can trust him away from team control. Until then, they’ll remain on pins and needles every offseason hoping Foster is able to stay out of trouble. That’s not the most productive relationship.