The 49ers’ Reuben Foster spoke to the Bay Area media today for the first time since he had what would mildly be described as difficult offseason.
Foster will serve a two-game suspension to start the season stemming from an arrest for Marijuana possession in Alabama and a weapons charge. Though domestic violence charges against him were dropped after his accuser admitted she lied, it was a scary several months for a young football player with a bright career in front of him.
“It was painful,” Foster said. It’s football. It’s something I do. It’s something I love. But it is what it is, you suffer the consequence, you move on…You learn from it too and you grow from it. So I need to learn, I’m gonna suck it up and fight up, and just knowing that my brothers are gonna be out on the field just going down, doing what they do best.”
Foster knows he’s lucky to be where he is and he is no interest in his future being jeopardized again.
“It was a big learning experience,” said Foster. “I learned from every mistake, everything that’s been said, all my flaws, learned from a lot of things. I just grew from it.”
When Foster was charged with his hitting his former girlfriend multiple times, 49ers’ general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan stood by the young linebacker while the legal process played out, though they were also clear that if he was indeed guilty, he would not be wearing a 49ers’ uniform again.
“That’s the message that came through,” said Foster. “And I respected it. I respect it. Because if I did, yeah … It’s just they stood by me though. My brothers. Brotherhood.”
Shanahan said earlier this week that was impressed with Foster and how he handled this adversity.
“What they originally charged him with is as bad of a thing as you can imagine,” Shanahan said. “…To have all that scrutiny on you and to have to go through that, I think would be a challenge for any human being. That would mess a lot of people up. I’ve been really, very impressed with Reuben in how he handled it, the process he went through while it was going on and after it got dropped, how he’s handled himself since. I know he learned a lot through it…I really think it has for Reuben and I think it’s benefitted him in the long run, just understanding a little bit more how the world works.”
Another person who was incredibly supportive of Foster was Richard Sherman, even though he was new to the team and did not know Foster all that well.
“That’s real, that’s like real,” Foster said. “He’s the man for that. Like I respect Richard Sherman for that, like coming to court to support me, and just being there for me. At the hard times, he don’t know true or false, but at the same times, he waited patient, just like me.”
Foster and Sherman’s lockers are next to each other, which is probably not a coincidence as Sherman has taken a strong leadership and mentorship role on this team.
“Obviously, there’s been some mistakes and some up and downs of this all season and last year,” Sherman said earlier this week of Foster. “But just like everybody else, he’s a human being and human beings make mistakes. But I think he’s growing from those mistakes and he’s moving forward and he’s trying to be a better man. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. And as you know better you do better. And I think that’s gonna be seen with him. I don’t think you’re going to hear much out of him in terms of the off the field issues in the future. I think everything you’ll hear about him will be on the field and it’ll be positive. And I look forward to it.”
For Foster’s part, he is happy to be on the field at training camp with his teammates playing the sport he loves.
“I learned like every day I gotta go hard, like everything I do now, to better myself even more,” Foster said. “It’s like do or die. Just don’t mess up. The fastest, they go like that. I need to do that like on my job, playing football. It’s like trying to craft my football, or to craft my life, and go hard at it.”