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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

49ers in close contact with Reuben Foster as offseason program nears

Mar 26, 2018 at 11:20 AM--

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San Francisco 49ers star linebacker Reuben Foster is likely to face discipline in the form of a suspension from the NFL following his two offseason arrests. In January, he was arrested for second-degree possession of marijuana in Alabama. A month later, Foster was booked into the Santa Clara County Jail on suspicion of domestic violence, threats, and possession of an assault weapon.

Last week, general manager John Lynch gave an update on Foster's situation via an interview on ESPN Radio.

"He's put himself in a couple of situations that you can't put yourself in," Lynch said on-air. "We're going to hold off judgment and let the legal process kind of work itself out. But Reuben's really working on improving himself such that he's equipped to make these decisions as to who he's surrounding himself with, what kind of situations he's putting himself in."

Lynch spoke with Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area on Monday at the NFL owner's meetings and reiterated some of the things he said during the ESPN interview. According to Maiocco, the district attorney's office has yet to determine if there is enough evidence in the latest arrest to pursue criminal charges.

"We're operating on their timeline," Lynch told Maiocco. "There are dates, but we're operating on that timeline and monitoring it. We've been in close contact with him. He's doing a nice job."

The 49ers met with Foster the day after the February arrest.

"We've had some really frank discussions with Reuben," Lynch said during the ESPN Radio interview mentioned above. "Unfortunately, a lot of these things happen in the offseason when we aren't allowed to touch these guys. That's not an excuse. It's just a reality. During the season, Reuben was great. His biggest issue during the season was staying healthy, but when he was on the field, he's a difference maker."

Lynch and the 49ers did a great deal of research before drafting Foster with their second of two first-round selections last year. A shoulder injury, failed drug test, and being dismissed from last year's combine following an altercation with a hospital worker led to his first-round fall with the 49ers finally selecting him at No. 31.

Lynch told ESPN Radio that the team would be patient with the legal process.

"We're going to let that play out but we believed in Reuben when we drafted him, and we really want to right now," Lynch said last week. "But he's got to make some strides as well, and I think he's working hard to do that. We'll see where that all ends out. That's part of the deal.

"The draft, all these things aren't an exact science. You do your best to make good decisions and the idea that you're going to have 53 choir boys, it's not a reality. But you do have to have men of character, and it's something we stress. We look for that and we really felt, when we drafted Reuben, yeah, he grew up tough, but when you talk to people at Alabama, he's one of the leaders ... He makes people around him better.

"But you also have to conduct yourself in a way off the field, and Reuben understands that. Like I said, he's working hard towards that."

Foster started 10 games last year for the 49ers while registering 72 combined tackles and a pass defensed. He missed six games with a high ankle sprain and a rib injury. Foster was named the Defensive Rookie of the Month for November and finished the season with the team's highest player grade (90.7), according to Pro Football Focus.

The 49ers' offseason program is scheduled to kick off on April 16.

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