49ers may need to recalibrate their character-assessment methods


The 49ers can say plenty of things, or nothing at all, about the arrest of linebacker Reuben Foster for domestic violence. One thing the 49ers can’t say is that they had no reason to believe Foster may do something he shouldn’t have done.

Foster became one of the rare players to be kicked out of the multi-day job interview in Indianapolis after an altercation with a health-care worker. It put every team on notice that there could be an issue with Foster’s temper, and each team either struck his name from the draft board or did extra work to ensure that they were investing draft capital and cash in someone who may get in trouble, on or off the field.

The 49ers chose the former, and it caused them to ultimately put Foster among their top two prospects.

I’m proud of that,” G.M. John Lynch said of the work the organization did to vet Foster, on the same day that the team traded back into round one to get him with pick No. 31. “We were exhaustive in our getting to know the kid. We met with him at the Combine. We had him out here for a visit. Kyle [Shanahan] and I both spent a lot of time on the phone with him, facetiming. And then, I think when we really started to zero in and get really serious, we sent [vice president of football affairs] Keena Turner and Pastor Earl [Smith] down to Tuscaloosa to meet with Reuben for two days and they had a tremendous visit.

“We kept in contact with him. Young man’s going to be disappointed. He felt like he was one of the better players. But, I can also tell you that this was a place where Reuben wanted to be. He indicated that numerous times. Whether he told everybody else that, I don’t know. But, it felt genuine and I think that’s something we love about Reuben is that he’s a really genuine young man. He’s got a smile that lights up a room and the way he plays football’s special.”

The 49ers felt so strongly about Foster that Lynch made it clear that, if the Bears had taken Solomon Thomas after the flip-flop trade that gave Chicago the second overall pick and San Francisco the third, Lynch and the 49ers would have taken Foster with the third overall selection.

Now, they have to worry about losing Foster for six games in 2018, maybe more. (Indeed, the incident at the Scouting Combine — which kept Foster from being invited to the draft — could be regarded as an aggravating factor that would result in a longer suspension.) They likewise have to worry about whether Foster, who has been arrested twice in less than a month, may end up being their next Aldon Smith.

26 responses to “49ers may need to recalibrate their character-assessment methods

  1. It’s hard to believe there’s a team in the NFL more disgusting than the Cincinnati Bengals, but there is.

    The Santa Clara 49ers take the cake.

  2. They sent all these people to visit him, but did they send a mental health professional? Meeting a guy and liking him doesn’t mean that you should invest millions in him.

    Chalk that up to rookie mistake by John Lynch

  3. .
    Arizona GM Steve Keim said it best, ” If Hannibal Lector ran a 4.2/40, we’d say he had an eating disorder. ”

  4. This is true. Lynch took a big chance drafting Foster and it hasn’t worked out well.
    No two ways about it. The 49ers need to provide Foster all the help he needs in life, but he needs to be suspended indefinitely till he gets his life in order.

  5. Let me first say i hope he gets his mind right. He is young and very talented, with the potential for a storied career.

    At this point I fear the distraction he may cause. The 9ers are trending in the right direction, I did not see enough from him on the field to say he was worth the distraction. The team can send a POWERFUL message by cutting him, since he is going to miss at least 6 games next year (most likely more because of the weed arrest) so he will be available for 10 games at least 3 of which he will be injured. It will come down to Shani, and Lynch and Whether they would rather be the fixers/players guy, or a Bill Belichick team first guy…

  6. And the team kept boasting about beating the Saints to the punch to draft this guy. I wonder who is laughing now?

  7. John Lynch got hired as General Manager even though he had no experience evaluating talent. A few bumps in the road should be expected. I’d be willing to bet Lynch has already recalibrated the way they assess character. I’m sure he knows a lot more now than he did the day he was hired. He’s learning on the job. If Garoppolo turns out to be as good as they think he is, this day will soon be forgotten.

  8. As bad as this is, he isn’t as bad as a certain TE who dropped in the draft from a first round pick (on talent) to the fourth (due to character issues). He later ended up in the news quite a bit and wore a different uniform.

  9. So a lawyer, and a progressive one at that, has already tried and convicted Reuben Foster right here. Couldn’t be that he actually is innocent — and he might not be. But he’s done, already, right here.


  10. @natureboy123 – nobody (Florio included) is convicting him of anything. The facts are what they are at this point – he’s been in trouble repeatedly, he’s been tossed from the combine, he’s been arrested (not yet convicted, but arrested) for domestic violence, and arrested for possession of pot where it isn’t legal. The man shows extreme immaturity and bad judgement, and he’s facing an NFL suspension right now, without the need to be convicted of anything. The NFL has its own standards that he’s expected to live up to, and they are not the same standards as required to actually convict someone of a crime. Is that so hard to understand? Try behaving like this guy and see how it goes over with your employer.

  11. THis is and will continue to be a bigger fault than the NFL will admit. Continued drafting players with issues and then not holding them accountable when all goes wrong. Time this type player is sent packing from the NFL.

  12. Man, as much as our defense was an entirely different unit with him on the field… Assuming this isn’t a case of an upset girlfriend trying a money grab, we got to cut him. Can’t have this. At the very LEAST, 49ers should say “we don’t care that the NFL only suspends him 6 games, we say he’s done for the full season”.

  13. Can’t stand that some people are saying cut the kid first of all before all of the details even came out. You guys are treating him like he’s totally guilty before he has even been convicted. This is proof that some people really aren’t innocent until proven guilty smh.

    If it comes out that he is guilty of domestic violence then I agree that he should be punished. And punishment doesn’t mean he has to lose his job. I would never promote or get myself involved in domestic violence for the record. But crimes are committed daily and people go to work even after their punishment is served.

    All I’m saying is let it play out. If he’s guilty then punishment is needed and then you see how the kids responds from it. Commit another crime after being punished then should cause for termination. There’s levels to things.

  14. A good fix should be cheaper plug in Derrick Johnson from KC in free agency…. a great player and a fast fix. And get the distraction ( Foster ) out of SF.

  15. “joetoronto says:

    February 13, 2018 at 6:43 am

    It’s hard to believe there’s a team in the NFL more disgusting than the Cincinnati Bengals, but there is.

    The Santa Clara 49ers take the cake. ”

    The Las Vegas Raiders are the must disgusting team in the NFL and it isn’t even close

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