Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Lombardi: NFL teams passed on Reuben Foster because of his shoulder

May 1, 2017 at 11:31 PM--

Despite the 49ers and Reuben Foster saying otherwise, Mike Lombardi believes that the injury to Reuben Foster's shoulder may be more serious than what has been said. Lombardi believes that Foster's plummet in the first round occurred because teams didn't want to take the risk on the potential injury and other NFL teams believe that it is more serious than what has been revealed.

"The 49ers should count their lucky stars that they didn't pick Reuben Foster at the third pick overall and they ended up getting him at 31 because Reuben Foster may require surgery before the season even begins," Lombardi said on The Ringer podcast Monday. "Now, people are saying he's fine, everything's going to be good. That's not what I'm told by a lot of teams in the league. That's why he slipped. People think it's more the character. I'm tending to believe it was more the injuries and that shoulder, whether it's the torn labrum or the rotator cuff.

"The 49ers are really fortunate. If they would have turned that card in at three, they would have probably been holding their breath to think he's going to stay healthy for the season."

Following the 2016 collegiate football season, Foster underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. It was an injury that prevented the linebacker from participating in the NFL Scouting Combine.

The 49ers and their medical staff, who examined Foster's shoulder, are confident that he is fine. How confident are they? According to Peter King of The MMQB, upon drafting the linebacker and hearing the concerns about his shoulder on the television coverage, Lynch yelled across the draft war room to his chief medical officer, Jeff Ferguson: "You guys worried about his shoulder?"

"What shoulder?!" Ferguson yelled back.

Foster has also been adamant that a second surgery is not necessary and insists that he will be ready to go for the team's training camp in late July. "I'm making big progress," Foster told the media during his introductory press conference. "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."

Foster was also asked about the reports of an addition surgery possibly being necessary. "That's not accurate at all," Foster said. "I'm fine. I'm on schedule."

On Friday, the day after being selected, Foster joined KNBR and tried to explain where the mixup occurred. "Because I had a scan," Foster said. "I scanned it and what they was talking about was the anchor in my shoulder and the light had glimpsed it -- some light had glimpsed it a certain way and make it look like it's not healed all the way. It's getting in the healing process because I'm like 13 weeks outside the surgery. But no more surgeries. It's going to be completely healed before training camp."

"I'd be surprised if he can't help us this year," head coach Kyle Shanahan said on KNBR during a separate interview that occurred following the selection of Foster. "When you know a guy's not going to be hurt long-term, you know you're going to get him quickly, you don't want that stuff to affect your decision. As a coach, I want him to be ready the first day he gets here but I'm pretty confident he'll be ready and play for us this season. If something did happen to happen, like you mentioned – our doctors felt that it wouldn't – but if it did, that stuff still gets taken care of. It's not like it's going to be career threatening and it's going to change who we have. I feel very confident about that stuff."

Lombardi may not believe that Foster is okay, but apparently the 49ers head coach (and likely general manager John Lynch), the team's medical staff, and Foster himself believe otherwise.

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