Transcript: Reuben Foster and Solomon Thomas Introductory Press Conference

Apr 28, 2017 at 3:22 PM--

Reuben, can you talk just a little bit more about your shoulder and the progress that you've made?

RF: "I'm making big progress. I'll be limited in OTAs. Training camp, I'll be full-go, but if it's my decision, I think I can go now."

There were some reports that you would need an additional surgery. Is that not accurate?

RF: "That's not accurate at all. I'm fine. I'm on schedule."

Solomon, coming into the building, you've been here before as a player, correct?

ST: "Yes, sir. So, we played in the Pac-12 Championship here and also the Foster Farms Bowl when I was a freshman at Stanford. So, I've been here a couple times. It's an amazing building. I'm happy to be back here."

What's it like to walk in here now as an employee?

ST: "It feels great. It's an honor to be here as an employee, as a 49er. I'm ready to go to work with these guys and have a great time."

Do both of you guys expect to start, come in and make a big impact?

ST: "You know, coming in you have to earn your stripes. I can't come in here and say I'm just going to start right away. I have to work with the guys, get to know my teammates, become a great teammate, become a great practice player and just earn my stripes as I go on and keep working and working until I can say I can get there."


RB: "No, I don't think about starting. I'm coming in humble. I'm coming in to pick some brains, just get to know the coaches and the players and just really be humble and love one another and just let them carry me and show me the way, show me the ropes."

Have you guys had a chance to meet your new teammates around the locker room or anything like that?

ST: "I met a couple guys coming in here so far. They've been really friendly in welcoming me in. I got to see [S] Eric Reid. I played with his brother at Stanford, so it was a familiar face. I saw [G] Josh Garnett, I used to play with him at Stanford. So, already feel welcomed on the team. It feels great."

RF: "I just got finished meeting [S] Vinnie Sunseri. As far as the linebacker group, I didn't get a chance to meet any of them, but I look forward to meeting them."

How would you characterize your time you got to spend with 49ers general manager John Lynch during the pre-draft process?

RF: "It was good. It was fun. It was funny, fun, home, welcoming. It was like a real home, like love, like family."

Have you guys ever met before today?

ST: "No, we haven't met before, but I've spent about 10 minutes with him and I already feel like he's my brother."

RF: "That's right. He's right about that."

Reuben, I know the 49ers sent a couple people down to visit you, spend some time, get to know you. In that visit, what did you learn about the 49ers and them as an organization?

RF: "It's all about love and trust, man. What I learned about them, it's love and I love the 49ers. I grew up loving the 49ers from [former 49ers LB] Patrick Willis, all the greats, and I want to become him, become one of the greats. I know I've got to wait my turn and do it a step at a time, but I'm willing to do that. I'm going to do that."

When John Lynch called you yesterday, you, according to John, told him you were going to the Saints. What did you say? Had the Saints called you and told you that they were picking you at 32?

RF: "They actually did. It was funny. That's a funny story. That was a funny story."

Tell the story please.

RF: "The 30th and 31st pick were about to come up, so I get a call from the New Orleans Saints and they say, 'Are you in Louisiana, Baton Rouge?' I said, 'No, sir. I'm in Miami, Florida.' 'Is your woman around?' I'm like, 'Hold up, why do you want to speak to my woman?' They said, 'Give her the phone.' So, I give her the phone and all I hear is, 'Yeah. No. Yes, sir. Yeah, we're in Miami. Yes, sir.' And, I'm like, what are they talking about? That's when a click had come in and she pulled the phone out like this and I said, 'Oh, that's San Jose.' So, I clicked over for the San Francisco 49ers and I picked up and said, 'Hello,' while the New Orleans Saints are still on the line. But, I wanted to be a 49er so bad. It was funny. It was crazy."

Did the Saints tell you that they had picked you?

RF: "They wanted to pick me, but it was too late. They were the 31st pick. They traded down, so they couldn't. I told John Lynch, coach John Lynch that it was too late. I said, 'Man, coach you're the 34th pick. It's too late. The New Orleans Saints are about to get me."

What did the Saints say to your girlfriend?

RF: "My girl was on the phone with the New Orleans Saints."

What did they tell her?

RF: "Take your time and just really scope him and be there for him. Because, she's from Louisiana, Baton Rouge and New Orleans is just a 45-minute drive. So, they wanted her there with her family and be like a home, welcoming, home away from home."

They were certain they were going to pick you. Is that what you're saying?

"Yeah, they were certain they were going to pick me."

They were welcoming you and your girlfriend to the family, essentially, when John called on the other line?

RF: "Yeah."

So was it awkward at all when you clicked back on the other line?

RF: "No. I hung up."

When the Bears moved up to two, there was some discussion that they were moving up to take you. So, what were you going through during that time?

ST: "I was just waiting patiently. Waiting for my phone to get called. If they were going to take me, they were going to take me. If not, I was going to hear the next pick and it was the 49ers and it's a dream come true to be here and it's an honor to be here. So, I'm happy."

Not a lot of players, draftees, once took a class with their new general manager. How did that factor in in terms of your communication with John leading up to the draft?

ST: "It was already a comfortable relationship, being with John before in a class and getting to know him a little bit, see how he was in the classroom and just a role model there. And get to talk to him a little bit throughout my college career, just getting advice from him and as it goes on, how to become a better player, better man. Now, I'm an employee under him and I can't wait to learn under him and play for him. So, I'm really excited."

You've had some challenges in your childhood and obviously, you've been able to overcome them. What's been the key for you in having success and being able to overcome those obstacles?

RF: "Just playing the sport that I love. Just football. It's my passion. It's my domain. It's my specialty. It's my home. So, just playing the sport I love."

Why was your draft party sponsored by a company that makes vaporizers for tobacco and marijuana?

RF: "This is a new leaf and I'm not answering that. I'm not answering that. I'm sorry. Next question. I'm sorry ya'll."

Last year, I know NFL rules dictate that you can only do so much until your class graduates. Do you remember G Joshua Garnett last year? Was he around Stanford while you were there while he was waiting for that? What was that like?

ST: "Yes, sir. So, after Joshua got drafted, he was back at Stanford training with [Stanford director of sports performance] coach [Shannon] Turley. He took classes for a little bit, but then it got to a point where he stopped taking classes. He was just around working. So, I was trying to get work with him when he was back. But, he was just in the area, stayed in the area because Santa Clara's about a 20-minute drive, a 15-minute drive. So, he just stayed in the area close to his new home."

So, will you seek advice from him on how to handle, keep yourself from running up the walls during that time?

ST: "Yes, sir. Definitely. I will be talking with Joshua and other guys on the team. Talking to the coaches as much as I can to learn as much as I can while I'm away, while I can't be at the facility. So, I'm going to do whatever I can to just continue to learn and get better while I'm away but still try my best to be here in some way."

How much of the offseason program are you going to miss?

ST: "So, I can come back to rookie mini-camp and then I can't come back until sometime, I think early June because that's when classes end."

What have each of you been told about what your role will be fitting in with this defense as they implement a new one here?

RF: "John Lynch, he said it best, 'You've got to come in and earn it,' which we look forward to doing."

ST: "Yeah. Definitely have to come in and like I said, you've got to earn your stripes. You've got to respect your team, become a teammate, learn from everyone. But, I'm definitely excited to be a part of this defense. It's a great defense. Amazing players all around from [LB] NaVorro Bowman to [DL] DeForest Buckner, [S] Eric Reid. It's going to be a lot of fun and getting to play with someone like Reuben, it's a dream come true. Watched his highlight tape before and he can hit. So, I can't wait to see him hit someone."

You've talked a lot about Patrick Willis, obviously, but now you're going to be paired next to NaVorro Bowman. What do you know about him? What did you like about his game when you were watching him play?

RF: "NaVorro Bowman?"

RF: "I don't know too much about him. But, I look forward to just getting to know him and just picking his brain because he's a vet. I really want to just know the ropes from him, from his standpoint because he's been in this game more than I have. Patrick Willis' standpoint, he's a great player. I want to become more like him because he left a great legacy up here. So, if I'm trying to get in on that role, I want to leave a great legacy too."

Have you ever met Patrick?

RF: "I've never met Patrick, but I know how he played."

With your long relationship with John Lynch, before he got into the league, do you know if he was calling teams on your behalf to keep an eye out for you on the Stanford football field?

ST: "I don't know. I was just talking to Mr. Lynch and just trying to get a feel for how I should prepare throughout the process because I know he went through the process leaving as a junior. So, just asking him questions like, how should I look as myself towards the next level and what's my mindset towards the rest of the season? He just told me, during this bowl game, you've just got to ball out and have the best game of your life. I tried to do that and I'm pretty sure I had one of the best games of my life that game. So, I just tried to listen to his advice."

You clearly have NFL talent, but given some of the challenges you've faced, do you think you're beating the odds in order to be in the NFL?

RF: "I don't look back at that. Since they picked me on the 31st pick, there's a new leaf, there's a new journey for me. I'm just looking forward to becoming great."

* Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers

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