Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports



San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan announced on Friday that the team was releasing veteran linebacker NaVorro Bowman. The decision came after the team came "very close" to trading the All-Pro on Thursday, but after some discussion with Bowman, decided it would be best to allow the fan-favorite to look at each of the other 31 NFL teams as options.

The roster move means that rookie linebacker Reuben Foster is on course to take over the Mike linebacker position once he is completely healthy. On Friday, Foster was listed as questionable for Sunday's road game against the Washington Redskins. Even if he does play on Sunday, he is unlikely to see a heavy amount of playing time. Instead, Foster will likely only take the field in certain defensive packages.

"Reuben Foster is close to coming back," Lynch told the media on Friday. "We want him, eventually, to be our Mike linebacker."

RELATED 49ers release All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman

"That's where we plan for him to play (when he returns)," Shanahan said. "I can't say this week. I still can't even say whether he's going to play or not this week. He hasn't taken a ton (or reps) there at Mike, we've always worked him a little but it has been Bo's spot and we do feel it's Reub's natural spot. Once he's fully going and back into the flow of things, which I can't promise you will be this Sunday, as soon as is, that will be his spot."

Foster is attempting to return from a high-ankle sprain that he suffered against the Carolina Panthers on September 10. He returned to practice this week but was limited.