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Kyle Shanahan on Reuben Foster’s shoulder: You never know who will be right

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The 49ers traded back into the first round to take linebacker Rueben Foster with the 31st overall pick last week and said they would have considered taking him with the third overall pick if Solomon Thomas had gone to the Bears at No. 2.

As illustrated by the fact that Foster was available at the end of the first round, they didn’t have much company when it came to teams willing to take Foster in the first round. The state of his shoulder was the biggest reason for their reticence as Foster had shoulder surgery early in the offseason and some teams believe that the operation didn’t solve the problem.

During an interview with KNBR on Thursday, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said the team does not believe that the injury is a long-term concern but couldn’t rule out the possibility that it will impact his availability during his rookie season. Shanahan called that the “worst-case scenario,” although even that seems somewhat uncertain.

“You never know who is going to end up being right,” Shanahan said.

The conflicting opinions about Foster’s health call to mind the way things played out with Bills linebacker Shaq Lawson after he was selected in the first round of the 2016 draft. The Bills said they were comfortable when other teams had concerns about Lawson’s shoulder and he wound up having surgery that caused him to miss the first six games of the regular season.

The two cases are unique, but it doesn’t sound like anyone is ruling out a similar absence for Foster as he starts his NFL career.

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36 Responses to “Kyle Shanahan on Reuben Foster’s shoulder: You never know who will be right”
  1. fthrvic says: May 4, 2017 12:27 PM

    But you sure can insulate yourself against who’ll be wrong.

  2. lingsun54 says: May 4, 2017 12:28 PM

    Adam Schefter says Reuben Foster’s shoulder “could give out on any hit.”

    Other people are reporting that his shoulder surgery didn’t fix the problem.

  3. tonebones says: May 4, 2017 12:29 PM

    I was thinking that when Foster got sent home from the combine for his behavior toward a medical staff worker, perhaps he did that on purpose because he didn’t want them to examine the shoulder. How’s that for a conspiracy theory?

  4. winningisabrees says: May 4, 2017 12:32 PM

    2017 Offseason Champs

  5. Deelron says: May 4, 2017 12:34 PM

    ” they didn’t have much company when it came to teams willing to take Foster in the first round. ”

    I mean besides the team literally on the phone with him with the next (and final) pick of the first round.

    There’s only 32 guys in the first round, and guys past #25 or so are going to have a certain fungibility with the guys in the early second, and the only difference between #32 and #33 is slightly more money and a fifth year option.

    He was clearly drafted in the right place for the risk/reward, and that’s really all that matters.

  6. holyfrickinwah says: May 4, 2017 12:44 PM

    Pretty sure at some point we will know who was right.

  7. krabballs says: May 4, 2017 1:00 PM

    Ozzie Newsome knows as much or more than anyone about anybody coming out of Alabama. Passed when Ravens have a hole at linebacker due to Orr’s retirement. So there’s that….

  8. kissmysandwich says: May 4, 2017 1:04 PM

    Even if he misses some time early on, if they view him as a generational player like Pat Willis than it doesn’t matter.

  9. ninerfan81 says: May 4, 2017 1:12 PM

    Amazing how the market will correct itself. This dude was easily the 2nd best defensive player in the draft. He did not drop because of a little pot. His shoulder is baked. Hope he can get to Dr.Andrews.

  10. viffty says: May 4, 2017 1:46 PM

    Kyle is just as stubborn as his father and is destined to fail as a head coach and as a talent evaluator.

  11. manderson4150 says: May 4, 2017 1:54 PM

    Maybe John Lynch is not the second coming of Ron Woolf after all…….Beathard in the third….reach……

  12. officialgame says: May 4, 2017 2:03 PM

    If son of Skeletor says he’s OK then he must be OK.

  13. xenova1 says: May 4, 2017 2:09 PM

    Reuben Foster sounds like my order at a local deli,

  14. officialgame says: May 4, 2017 2:09 PM

    “A generational player”? The “second best defensive player in the draft”? I don’t think so. He was a medical red flag, tested positive for a diluted sample at the combine, and was kicked out of the combine for hassling a doctor. On the football side he had no interceptions or forced fumbles in his entire college career!! That’s generational? Foster is a guy who runs around trying to make big hits with bad tackling form. Smart teams were on to him and stayed away.

  15. petersjeffrey36 says: May 4, 2017 2:16 PM

    i think its a fair risk/reward situation.. if there is an agreement he was the second best player in the draft for skill, how much risk is it really at the bottom of the round? they are all a toss up on the successful transition to the NFL anyway.. and if he fully recovers and they got the two best defensive players in the draft that is a great way to start your rebuild.

  16. bassplucker says: May 4, 2017 3:05 PM

    What is it with all these Tide players coming into the league pre-injured? I guess they really do leave it all on the field at Bama.

  17. mcmccii says: May 4, 2017 3:12 PM

    “I mean besides the team literally on the phone with him with the next (and final) pick of the first round.”

    They were asking him for specifics about his shoulder, not welcoming him to the team.
    That is the line that is being used, though.

  18. fanaticks says: May 4, 2017 4:05 PM

    Right now before a down is played, I think Foster makes or breaks the 49er draft. He plays with passion and is very violent, which they need both. Not since Jim Harbaugh was fired has that team had either of those characteristics. If his shoulder is so brittle that it could end his career on any hit, he should walk away but knowing how much he loves the game, that is never going to happen.

    One thing for sure though, we will know who was right at some point in his career but if he plays I can see so many naysayers taking it to a different level, instead of injury risk to prove their point.

  19. fanaticks says: May 4, 2017 4:07 PM

    “They were asking him for specifics about his shoulder, not welcoming him to the team.
    That is the line that is being used, though.”

    Where did you hear that one because it is Foster himself telling us that the Saints were drafting him. But we know all teams are so forthcoming to admit they were outplayed by a former player, first draft rookie GM…sure I believe the hurt team.

  20. phinatic29 says: May 4, 2017 4:20 PM

    Another player Saban used up in college. He’s done.

  21. ahzroc says: May 4, 2017 4:28 PM

    is that true?

    No Fumble Recoveries and No Int his entire career at Bamalama?


  22. radrntn says: May 4, 2017 4:35 PM

    Not sure about the shoulder(s) but 6’0 227, 4.6 speed…that is all i need to know

  23. jayniner says: May 4, 2017 4:38 PM

    Watch his highlights. No wonder the kid has shoulder problems……he hits like a freight train!

    Glad to have him

  24. jvw1982 says: May 4, 2017 5:22 PM

    Last think I want is to draft a LB in the first round who has bad shoulder….

  25. raider66664444 says: May 4, 2017 5:50 PM

    Hoping Kyle can be in 10 AFC NFC championship games and 3 Super Bowl winners like his dad. Calling all the plays in all 3 Super Bowl wins. The 5 years Elway was without Shanahan his record was 500.
    Biggest mistake Elway made was not hiring Kyle. Even a Raider fan knows history!

  26. cadreamer1969 says: May 4, 2017 6:08 PM

    The Doctors for the 49ers checked him out. Kyle didn’t sound worried because if Foster has to miss a year the 49ers think it’s worth it. The angst is amazing. Teams have differing opinions on players, what a shock.

  27. bighoser says: May 4, 2017 7:15 PM

    The Niners should red shirt him just to be safe and go in full tank mode like the Jets are doing to land a top 3 pick next year cause obviously they are FAR away from competing at a high level (Vegas has them at 200-1 to win the SB, same as the Browns). Then they either get:
    A) One of the top 3 QBs next year who all should be ranked higher than this year’s draft
    B) Sign Cousins and then trade that pick for a king’s ransom like the Rams did….
    Wouldn’t it be great if they sign Cousins and then sucker the Skins into another RGIII type trade?

  28. whenwilliteverend says: May 4, 2017 9:02 PM

    That’s a heckuva gamble on a first-round pick. Even if it’s 50-50 is it worth it? The Cowboys took a bigger chance on Jaylon Smith in the 2nd round last year. Both players would have probably gone in the top ten if not for injury concerns. Only time will tell if it was wroth the gamble. If it was they’ll look like geniuses. If it wasn’t, they’ll look like chumps. That’s the chance you take.

  29. jrossizzle says: May 4, 2017 9:16 PM

    Kyle Shannan “You never know who will be right”

    Kinda like being in the shotgun on 2nd down when FG wins the SB

  30. mcniner55 says: May 4, 2017 10:53 PM

    Its almost like Kyle knows he has a 6 year contract. And for one of his draft picks to sit out one year with a shoulder injury isnt that big of a deal….

    Its not like its his ACL or anything guys. (Looking at you Balkee)

  31. ihavepriors says: May 5, 2017 3:23 AM

    His shoulder is nuked. He’s a linebacker. End of story, not pretty.

  32. raiders4ever says: May 5, 2017 4:27 AM

    If the Raiders drafted Foster late in 1rst round media would be knocking the organizations how it was a stupid pick to take a gamble so early on a serious shoulder injury who may need another surgery…the whole draft weekend oh the niners and Lynch get a A they got a steal least admit during the draft its a huge gamble for Lynch to take it for his first time doing this…but they give him a A as if Foster is headed to Canton already….and i aint whining im just pointing out how bias the media is..

  33. jammer88 says: May 5, 2017 5:30 AM

    Kyle Shanahan is a joke. The 49er’s will end up 2-14 or 3-13 at best. The 49er’s got rid of Blaine Gabbert and signed QB studs; Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley. Now instead of drafted a QB in the 2nd round which the 49’ers desperately needed, they instead traded down in the draft and picked Rueben Foster. Think about that. The 49’ers, who again desperately need a QB and could have drafted Watson or Trubsky but didn’t. So whats Shanahan’s answer to their QB problem? He drafts a QB out of Iowa, CJ Bethard, at the 104th overall pick who had a below average passing completion record at Iowa. Yep all you 49’er fans out here, 3-13 at best this season. Good luck.

  34. rainponcho87 says: May 5, 2017 1:14 PM

    shoulders are pretty fixable, especially for a non-throwing athlete. He may need another procedure and he could lose some playing time. Can anyone think of a talented linebacker who had to quit because of a shoulder issue? Backs, legs, concussions, yes, but I can’t remember a shoulder keeping anyone from playing.

  35. kamthechancellor says: May 6, 2017 1:52 PM

    Shanny serving up that kool-aid. Line up you lemmings.

  36. rainponcho87 says: May 8, 2017 10:26 AM

    kamthechancellor says:
    May 6, 2017 1:52 PM
    Shanny serving up that kool-aid. Line up you lemmings.

    Seattle had a terrible draft, their fans know the team is aging and declining.

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