Reuben Foster's offseason plan: Work on strength, tackling technique

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Reuben Foster was an injury risk when the 49ers nabbed him at the end of the first round of the NFL Draft. And he's missed some time this year.

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SANTA CLARA – There were reports that some NFL teams believed linebacker Reuben Foster would require surgery before ever playing in an NFL game.

On Sunday, Foster will play his ninth game of his rookie season and he said he will not need any kind of offseason surgery on his right shoulder. Foster said his offseason will consist of work with Ray Wright, the team's strength and conditioning coach, and following the direction of head athletic trainer Jeff Ferguson.

"No procedure, just listen to the strength and conditioning coach and really train and just listen to Ferg and do what they ask me to do," Foster said.

Foster, whom the 49ers chose with the No. 31 overall pick, missed five games early in the season due to a high ankle sprain. He missed another game due to a ribs injury.

In the past two games, Foster left the lineup after sustaining stingers in his neck and shoulder area. But those issues were not related to the surgery he underwent on his right rotator cuff, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said this week.

"The shoulder did not cause any problems, at all," Foster said. "It's football. You catch the wrong hit, angle, whatever. It's a little stinger. It's no biggie."

Foster is second on the 49ers with 67 tackles, ranking behind only cornerback Dontae Johnson. Foster admits he will likely have to change his hard-hitting tackling style to maximize his career.

"I need to learn more technique," Foster said. "Anybody wants to blow through somebody. I got to learn the fundamentals and what the coaches say and get on my technique."

Foster said he expects to benefit from an entire offseason of working out, rather than merely rehabbing from surgery.

"It's going to be hard to change my style of play, but that will come with the offseason of getting the right shoulder strength and traps (trapezius) and getting dialed in on body maintenance," Foster said. "Not holding the shoulder surgery against me, but that I need that training and to find a way to play aggressive and not hurt myself."