The 2018 NFL Draft is a few short days away and John Lynch and the San Francisco 49ers are preparing to find the next great playmaker.
But first, there were questions to be answered regarding Reuben Foster and his status after his April 12 arraignment in which the linebacker was charged with three felonies, two of which include domestic violence charges.
“The gravity of these charges has not been lost us,” Lynch said. “We take it extremely serious. We do feel like patience is the right approach right now, that we’re going to learn things through the legal process. But I do want to be very clear, abundantly clear, if these charges are proven true, if Reuben indeed hit this young lady, he won’t be a part of the organization going forward. And I think that’s the standard we want on our team, that’s the standard we’re going to operate under.”
Foster was a first-round draft pick of the 49ers last season, and he was picked despite having had off-field issues before the draft. But, Lynch and the organization felt that they did a solid amount of work to ensure Foster could overcome those issues and be successful.
“We felt given the information we had — we did a lot of work — it was something that we were comfortable with,” he said.
The 49ers have kept Foster out of offseason activities and are prepared to be without him for as long as that process takes, even if it means into the fall. And that means drafting for a future that very well might not include Reuben Foster.
“Yeah, I think you have to, because the situation’s out there,” said Lynch. “You have to think about those things. You have to take that into account. You would be foolish not to.”
Lynch indicated that the organization is trying to provide Foster with some sort of structure and program while he is away from his teammates.
Was drafting Foster ultimately a misstep?
“That’s yet to be determined,” said Lynch. “I’m certainly not comfortable with what’s transpired in the short time he’s been here. But I think being around this league, I’ve seen too many cases of guys who struggle early and then, fortunately, figure it out. Provided we have that opportunity, I would love nothing more than for that to be the case.”