INDIANAPOLIS – Last year, Reuben Foster was sent home from the combine after he got into a heated exchange with a hospital worker. It was another red flag for the talented linebacker. The San Francisco 49ers couldn’t ignore the talent though, and traded up to take Foster 31st overall.
There’s a reason teams vet prospects so thoroughly at the combine and in the rest of the lead-up to the draft. The 49ers took a risk, and now have to answer questions about Foster’s arrest on Feb. 11 for domestic violence and suspicion of possessing an assault rifle.
The 49ers quickly cut cornerback Tramaine Brock last April after he was arrested for domestic violence. He wasn’t a first-round pick coming off an excellent rookie year on the field, like Foster was.
“With that [Foster] situation we try to be very open about things, on this one, because it’s an ongoing legal matter, we got to kind of stay away from that,” Lynch said Thursday.
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The 49ers are in an uncomfortable spot. They don’t want to cut Foster, a building block for their defense. They presumably also don’t want to be seen as a team that doesn’t take domestic violence seriously.
“We understand the gravity of the allegations and we’re taking those seriously,” Lynch said. “We’re following the protocols that are in place with the NFL and with law enforcement.”
Lynch wouldn’t say if he expected Foster to be a part of the team’s offseason program.
“We’re just taking this as it comes,” Lynch said.
In a meeting with Bay Area reporters on Wednesday, Lynch brought up the Brock situation and said it showed the team takes those situations seriously.
“He was a starting cornerback for us,” Lynch said, according to NBC Sports Bay Area. “We didn’t take that lightly. Anybody who watched us play – I wouldn’t say a weakness — but an area of concern for us was the cornerback position. And that had a large part to do with it.
“It was a decision we felt was best for everyone involved and we made it accordingly. Each situation is unique and different.”
This situation isn’t going away for the 49ers. They won’t say much because the case is ongoing. The 49ers want to take their time on it, and the situation will linger over their offseason as they consider what to do.
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