Former 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster won’t face a suspension during the 2019 season following his November arrest in Tampa, Florida, that led to his release from the team, the NFL announced Friday. He faces a fine instead.
“Today, the NFL notified Reuben Foster of the Washington Redskins that he will be fined two game checks following a review of recent incidents and an assessment of his adherence to obligations arising from previous violations of league policies,” the league wrote in a statement.
“Following a thorough investigation, the evidence did not support a finding that Foster violated the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy in connection with the Tampa incident in November 2018. The NFL has returned Foster to the active roster from the Commissioner Exempt list. He may fully participate in all team activities.”
Foster was released the morning after he was arrested at the 49ers’ team hotel before their Nov. 25 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after getting into an alleged altercation with his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Elissa Ennis, who was at the center of his domestic violence case from the previous spring. A Santa Clara County judge dismissed the domestic violence related chargers against Foster, but his misdemeanor charges for possessing an assault rifle stuck, leading to a two-game suspension to begin the 2018 season with San Francisco.
Foster was claimed by Washington off waivers just days after his release despite the pending investigation into the incident in Tampa. He was placed on the Commissioner Exempt List, which prevented him from playing during the final month of the season. Friday’s ruling from the league office allows Foster to suit up with his new team for the start of the offseason program later this month and for the start of 2019.
The fine is expected to be worth over $160,000.
Foster on Friday released a statement: “I am grateful to the Washington Redskins and the NFL for giving me this second chance. I appreciate the support I have received from the league, my team, and my union to help me succeed. I was to thank Commissioner Goodell for the time that he has spent with me and for his understanding of me as a person. I accept the NFL’s decision and want to say that I am truly sorry for my past actions and the people who may have been hurt by them. Going forward, I will follow the plan outlined for me and work hard to earn back the trust of my teammates, the NFL, NFL Fans, and the community. I know that my success is all up to me, and I am committed to not letting you down.”
The 49ers moved on from Foster after less than two full seasons despite trading up to take him in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft. He was taken despite off-the-field concerns relating to his decision making, as well as questions regarding the health of his surgically repaired shoulder, which proved problematic during his time with San Francisco.
The team last month signed former Buccaneers linebacker Kwon Alexander to a four-year, $54 million contract to fill the void left by Foster. Alexander, who is entering his fifth NFL season, is nearly four months younger than Foster. Alexander is expected to start next to second-year pro Fred Warner. Elijah Lee replaced Foster following his release.
49ers sign former AAF offensive lineman
San Francisco on Friday announced the signing of Daniel Burinskill, a converted offensive lineman who most recently played for the San Diego Fleet of the defunct Alliance of American Football.
Brunskill is listed at 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, about 40 pounds lighter than most linemen. He switched from tight end to offensive tackle during his final college season at San Diego State. He spent last season on the Atlanta Falcons practice squad.
▪ Free agent cornerback addition Jason Verrett was assigned jersey No. 34 this week, according to the team’s website. That number had been retired for former running back Joe Perry, who was with San Francisco from 1948 to 1960 and 1963 following two seasons the Baltimore Colts.
A team spokesman said Verrett will not be allowed to wear the number during the regular season. The number is temporary because there aren’t enough numbers available during the offseason program, when the roster is 90 players deep.