By pleading no contest to a misdemeanor weapons charge, 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster has closed all of his pending criminal cases. Coupled with the recent resolution of a marijuana possession charge, Foster now faces multiple potential suspensions.
Under the substance-abuse policy, the placement of Foster in a diversion program likely will result in a suspension of at least one game. The fact that he possibly already was in the substance-abuse program (due to a positive test at the Scouting Combine in 2017) could enhance the penalty.
It’s unclear whether the misdemeanor weapons charge will trigger a suspension. Former 49ers pass rusher Aldon Smith once received a nine-game suspension, but he pleaded no contest to three felony weapons charges, and he had other issues.
The fact that Foster has had other issues — include the bizarre circumstances resulting in Foster being sent home from the Scouting Combine, which kept him from being invited to the draft — could as a practical matter prompt Commissioner Roger Goodell to send a stronger message.
While things would have been much worse for Foster if the domestic violence charges against him hadn’t been dismissed after the alleged victim recanted, Foster isn’t out of the woods, and he likely will be missing some time to start the 2018 season.