Less than 48 hours after the San Francisco 49ers held a news conference to announce they've locked up franchise QB Jimmy Garoppolo with a record-breaking contract, their quarterback of the defense, inside linebacker Reuben Foster, was locked up following Foster's arrest on charges of domestic violence, threats and possession of an assault weapon.
Foster, the former Alabama star whom the 49ers traded up to select 31st overall in last year's draft, and who earned All-Rookie recognition, was arrested without incident at 9:15 AM on Sunday. Police, originally responding to a welfare check, arrested Foster during their investigation and took him to Santa Clara County main jail, where he was later released after posting $75,000 bond.
The 49ers and NFL are aware of the arrest and are continuing to gather details, according to NBC Sports Bay Area, which reports that the police investigation is ongoing.
Foster was also arrested on a second-degree marijuana possession charge in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Jan. 12.
Few questions emanated from Foster when the former Butkus Award winner was on the field as a rookie. His 72 tackles, including 7 TFL, ranked second and third, respectively, on the club despite Foster missing six games. His ability to play downhill and sideline to sideline was immediately apparent, and Foster quickly flashed star power after getting over injuries in the first half of the season.
Indeed, it was questions regarding Foster's durability and character that led to a top-10 talent sliding nearly out of Round One and having him removed from at least one team's draft board altogether last spring.
Now, after injuries limited him to 10 games as a rookie, it appears suspensions could shorten his sophomore campaign — assuming he remains in the 49ers' plans at all. Foster arrived in the NFL already in the league's substance-abuse program after admitting to diluting a urine sample at last year's Combine. Moreover, as part of the NFL's updated personal conduct policy, first -time domestic violence offenders are subject to an immediate six-game ban.
Just two months into their jobs a year ago, then-rookies — GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan — released Tramaine Brock within 24 hours of his arrest on suspected domestic violence. Brock, though, would later have the charges dropped, and Lynch made it clear he wasn't attempting to send a message by moving on quickly from Brock, rather stressing the importance of viewing these instances on a case-by-case basis.
Well, Brock was a declining cornerback whom the new regime inherited, not the first of two first-rounders from the inaugural draft class for new Niners brass.
Lynch said shortly after sending second- and fourth-rounders to Seattle in order to move back into Round One and nab Foster, "I feel really good not only because we got a great player, (but) because I think we’re going to have a great plan for the young man both on (and off) the field and we care about the kid.”
It'll be fascinating to see how much Lynch's tune has changed after Foster quickly validated both the brilliant play that made him a top-10 talent and the volatile behavior and injury concerns that made him available to the 49ers at the end of Round One within Foster's first 12 months in the NFL.