Reuben Foster

Redskins Prez: It’s Time For Foster To Play

The Redskins made waves last year when they claimed embattled linebacker Reuben Foster off waivers from the 49ers. Months later, team president Bruce Allen says he expects Foster to suit up early in the 2019 season without a suspension from the NFL. 

The charges have been dropped, there are no complaints, so it’s time for him to play football,” Allen said on Friday (via Les Carpenter of the Washington Post).

Foster, a 2017 first-round pick, is among the most talented linebackers in the NFL. He’s also one of the league’s most controversial players due to his off-the-field transgressions.

Foster was accused of roughing up his ex-girlfriend, Elissa Ennis, in February of 2018. Ennis went on to recant that story, but, in November, she alleged Foster of abusing her once again at the 49ers’ team hotel in Florida. This time around, she is sticking to her story, but the Redskins claimed her days after the police report was filed. At the time, the Redskins said Foster would not play if the latest round of accusations appeared to have merit.

The NFL suspended Foster for the first two games of the 2018 season for violations of the league’s personal conduct policy, owing to the California arrest and a related weapons charge. The Redskins might feel that Foster is in the clear, but commissioner Roger Goodell says another suspension could be forthcoming.

Despite a potential ban, Foster is very much in the Redskins plans for 2019. When asked if Foster’s availability has been taken into account this offseason, Allen replied, “Oh, we consider him strongly.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Goodell, Hunt, Foster, Redskins, Kyler Murray, Whitehead

Commissioner Roger Goodell gave his annual press conference Wednesday, and was unsurprisingly asked about former Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt. Goodell said the investigation into the incident that led the Chiefs to cut Hunt “should conclude ‘soon’ and that he’ll go back on the exempt list whenever” he ends up signing with a team, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

As Rapsheet points out, Hunt is looking at a “likely suspension”, although it’s unclear what the length may be. We heard a couple of weeks ago that the investigation was likely to be over by March. Shortly before that, it was reported that the Bears had spoken to Hunt. Chicago seems like a strong possibility for Hunt, as Jordan Howard struggled heavily this year and it would reunite Hunt with his former offensive coordinator in Matt Nagy.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Speaking of possible suspensions, Goodell also weighed in on Reuben Foster‘s situation. In the same tweet, Rapoport wrote that Goodell said “just because his charge was dropped doesn’t mean he won’t be suspended.” Foster recently saw the charges dropped for his most recent arrest, but he’s apparently not out of the woods yet. Goodell also said that he plans to speak in person with Foster again before making a decision, according to Mark Maske of the Washington Post. Foster was claimed off waivers by the Redskins after the 49ers cut him late in the season, but he’s been on the exempt list ever since.
  • The Redskins recently promoted quarterbacks coach Kevin O’Connell to offensive coordinator, but that doesn’t mean head coach Jay Gruden is giving up play-calling duties. Redskins team president Bruce Allen said during a recent radio appearance that as of now the plan is still for Gruden to call the plays, according to John Keim of ESPN.com. Allen did leave the door open for things to change, and other sources told Keim that a change is still in play.
  • Despite declaring for the NFL draft, Kyler Murray is still very much undecided about whether he’ll play football or baseball, according to Rapoport (Twitter link). Rapoport notes in the video that Murray hasn’t yet hired an agent for football or committed to attending the combine next month, and says the A’s, the MLB team that holds Murray’s rights, are still negotiating to potentially sweeten his deal and convince him to play baseball. He’ll have to make a decision pretty soon, and we should know a lot more within the next few weeks.
  • Former Cowboys and Jets kick returner Lucky Whitehead was arrested in Virginia earlier this week and charged with driving under the influence, according to TMZ. Whitehead was released by the Cowboys in 2017 after a bizarre incident where it was wrongly reported that Whitehead had been arrested after someone had given his identity to police. He was claimed off waivers by the Jets, and spent the 2017 season with them. Cut this past August, he spent the entire 2018 season out of football. Now arrested for real, this won’t help his chances of getting back into the league.

Bruce Allen Does Not Expect Foster Ban

Bruce Allen and the Redskins took plenty of heat earlier this season when they were the only team to submit a claim for Reuben Foster, who was soon placed on the commissioner’s exempt list.

But months after the linebacker’s latest arrest, his playing future looks more promising than it did when the 49ers waived him. Foster saw another domestic violence charge dropped, and Allen now expects his controversial waiver claim to be cleared for Week 1.

The league is still finishing their investigation of it,” Allen said, via Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “I don’t know why we would expect a suspension, but we’ll let the league finish up.”

During the 2018 offseason, Foster was arrested twice — the latter for an alleged domestic assault — but ended up evading legal trouble in both cases. The NFL suspended Foster for two games. The league’s current investigation may be more complicated.

Elissa Ennis, Foster’s ex-girlfriend who was the alleged victim in multiple 2018 incidents, said in December she was not being truthful when she recanted her allegation of domestic abuse from Feb. 2018. Ennis said during the same interview she was stunned the Redskins claimed Foster, whom she claims struck her on three separate occasions. This came days after another arrest for alleged domestic violence, which prompted the 49ers to cut ties with Foster. Since Foster’s most recent suspension, a 911 call came because of what a neighbor described as a “loud disturbance” from Foster’s Santa Clara, Calif., home in October. Ennis was with Foster that night.

The Redskins’ statement said the team talked to Foster’s ex-Alabama teammates for character references, but multiple players soon said they were not asked about Foster. Allen now said that was by design.

Yeah, we do talk to our players quite a bit. We don’t want our players discussing what we discuss with them,” Allen said, via Phillips. “We’ve talked about players in this upcoming draft, and they won’t discuss it. We’ve talked to people at Alabama. We’ve talked to a number of people.

“Not going to get into what we investigated, but we felt comfortable that we knew the player and the person involved. Reuben has demonstrated since he’s been with us that he wants to play football, he wants to do things the right way, and he wants to be a valuable member not only of the Redskins on the field but off the field as well.”

Foster still resides on the exempt list. Two years remain on his rookie contract. Another ban, potentially lengthier than 2018’s, remains possible for the 24-year-old defender.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins’ Reuben Foster Has Charge Dropped

The misdemeanor charge of domestic battery for Redskins linebacker Reuben Foster has been dropped, as reported by TMZ. Foster remains on the league’s exempt list for the time being, but this could be a step towards an eventual return. 

Foster was arrested in November for allegedly roughing up his ex-girlfriend, Elissa Ennis, at the 49ers’ team hotel in the Tampa area. Ennis also accused Foster of abuse in February but later recanted her story. Shortly thereafter, he was waived by the 49ers and claimed by the Redskins. The move by Washington was widely panned, though the Redskins say they that he will not play for them if the latest round of accusations are shown to have merit.

The Redskins fully understand the severity of the recent allegations against Reuben. If true, you can be sure these allegations are nothing our organization would ever condone,” Williams said. “Let me be clear, Reuben will have to go through numerous steps, including the full legal process, an investigation and potential discipline from the NFL, as well as meetings with counselors associated with the team, before he will ever have the opportunity to wear the Burgundy and Gold as a player.

If the league does permit Foster to play again, the Redskins will have a difficult decision on their hands.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Beckham, Foster, Redskins, Jets

The Giants‘ opponent Sunday will be dealing with a greater volume of injury replacements, but the Big Apple’s NFC team will be missing its biggest star. Odell Beckham Jr. will not play in Week 14. The Giants ruled out Beckham for their Redskins rematch because of a bruised quadriceps. Although Beckham practiced this week on a limited basis, the Giants are sitting him for the first time this season. New York’s 4-8 record may well be contributing to the decision. This season has not gone well for Big Blue, but Beckham has enjoyed a productive slate after an ankle injury wiped out most of his 2017 season. He has five 100-plus-yard performances and exited Week 13 with 1,052 receiving yards, six receiving scores and two touchdown passes.

Here’s the latest from the Eastern divisions:

  • In addition to three 2018 arrests, Redskins linebacker Reuben Foster was briefly detained by Santa Clara, Calif., police this year, A.J. Perez of USA Today reports (on Twitter). In October, police were dispatched to Foster’s place of residence following a 911 call. A neighbor indicated he heard a “loud disturbance” from Foster’s residence. The woman whose domestic-abuse accusations led to two of Foster’s arrests this year, Elissa Ennis, was with the embattled defender at the time of the detainment, per the police report. Ennis told police Foster was her boyfriend and “nothing happened.” Ennis this week expressed shock the Redskins claimed Foster, whom Tampa police arrested last month for alleged domestic violence.
  • Darron Lee has not made the Jets‘ 2016 first-round investment look too good, and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com does not expect the team to pick up the inside linebacker’s fifth-year option (Twitter link). It would cost the Jets around $10MM to keep Lee under contract through the 2020 season, and Cimini believes it would be an ill-advised decision for Gang Green to exercise the now-suspended linebacker’s option. Lee’s played better this season but has been inconsistent throughout his career.
  • Washington may be planning to go with tackles Austin Howard and Ty Nsekhe at guard against the Giants, per Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington. Jay Gruden has this option at his incredibly depleted guard spot, or the fifth-year Redskins coach could deploy Luke Bowanko or Zac Kerin. Gruden indicated he may use a rotation. The NFC East leaders for most of this season, the Redskins lost Jonathan Cooper — also an in-season replacement — for the year and will be without Tony Bergstrom. Howard, Bowanko and Kerin were in-season pickups for a Redskins team that now has five offensive linemen on IR. Washington is 6-6 and on the verge of seeing this injury-plagued season veer off the playoff course.

West Notes: Hawks, 49ers, Broncos, Chiefs

Before he signed with a one-year, $8MM deal with the Vikings in March, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson received a $4-5MM offer to stay with the Seahawks, as he explained to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press (Twitter link). “The contract they offered me was terrible. It wasn’t what they told me when I left after the exit meetings,” Richardson said. “When my agent told me the offer, I told him, ‘They can keep that.’” Richardson has excelled for Minnesota this season: Pro Football Focus currently grades him as the league’s No. 36 interior defender, while Richardson is tied for sixth among defensive tackles with 14 quarterback hits. Given that he only inked a one-year pact, Richardson will be able to hit the free agent market again in 2019 at the age of 28.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • In her first comments to the media after Reuben Foster was arrested on domestic violence charges in Tampa last month, Foster’s ex-girlfriend Elissa Ennis indicated the 49ers attempted to intervene during Foster’s arrest. It’s unclear whether Ennis was referring to San Francisco staffers or other players, but the club has issued a statement nonetheless. “The 49ers fully cooperated with authorities, assisted in locating Mr. Foster and in no way impeded their investigation,” said the team. San Francisco, of course, immediately waived Foster following the arrest, but he was claimed by the Redskins. Tampa Police are still reviewing the case against Foster, but an arraignment is tentatively scheduled for January 3, tweets Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area.
  • The Broncos lost one of their most important offensive players in Emmanuel Sanders on Wednesday, but they did get a little lucky in acquiring fellow receiver Andre Holmes off waivers from the Bills, as Mike Klis of 9News explains (Twitter link). Sanders went down with a torn Achilles at 12:06 MT, and Denver’s doctors had diagnosed him 14 minutes later. When practice ended at 1:20, Broncos offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave relayed to the club’s personnel department that he had coached Holmes while the two were in Oakland. Five minutes before the waiver deadline, the Broncos put in a claim on Holmes.
  • Austin Reiter‘s two-year extension with the Chiefs has a maximum value of $5.5MM, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Reiter, a reserve offensive lineman, will receive a $1MM signing bonus that, as Joel Corry of CBSSports.com notes (via Twitter) will prorate over three seasons given that Reiter signed his new deal before the close of the 2018 campaign. Reiter, 27, was projected to become a restricted free agent next spring, but he’ll now get a little more financial security instead of a non-guaranteed RFA tag. He started four games at center for Kansas City earlier this year while Mitch Morse was injured.
  • Seahawks guard D.J. Fluker is expected to miss several weeks with a hamstring strain, head coach Pete Carroll told reporters, including Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter link). Fluker, who inked a one-year, $1.5MM deal with Seattle this year, hasn’t played very well during his first season in the Pacific Northwest, as PFF grades him as a bottom-15 guard among 79 qualifiers. Former undrafted free agent Jordan Simmons will take over at right guard for the time being.

Latest On Reuben Foster

Reuben Foster‘s ex-girlfriend admitted that she falsely recanted her allegations of abuse earlier this year in an effort to protect the linebacker. In an interview with ABC, Elissa Ennis explained that she helped get the charges dropped against Foster in order to keep him out of prison and continue their relationship. 

Love will have you doing things that’s not in your best interests,” she said (via ESPN.com) “I did what I had to do for the person I love. I thought that he would change.”

Ennis also claims the 49ers tried to intervene during Foster’s arrest last month. When police arrived to the team hotel, she alleges that people from the 49ers told cops she was the same woman who previously recanted allegations against Foster. It’s not immediately clear whether Ennis is alleging interference from players or other team staffers.

During the interview, Foster’s ex-girlfriend described a pattern of abuse between her and Foster. On at least three different occasions, she says, she was punched and kicked by the former first round pick.

The 49ers released Foster soon after the November arrest and the Redskins claimed him off waivers. Foster was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list (paid suspension) while the legal process plays out, so he is unlikely to suit up for Washington this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Reuben Foster Will Not Appeal Commissioner’s Exempt List Designation

The league recently placed new Redskins linebacker Reuben Foster on the commissioner’s exempt list, and Foster has elected not to appeal that decision, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. That means that Foster will likely miss at least the rest of the 2018 campaign while the league investigates the incident at the 49ers’ team hotel last weekend that prompted San Francisco to cut ties with the 2017 first-rounder.

Schefter says that Washington is not surprised by the decision, and the club claimed Foster off of waivers last week with the belief that he could be a factor on its defensive unit next season, not this season. Of course, once the NFL concludes its investigation, Foster will almost certainly be suspended — and given the nature of the offense, he would face a minimum six-game ban — so it’s difficult to say when in 2019 the Redskins can expect Foster to suit up for a regular season game.

The Redskins were the only team to put a claim in on Foster, and they have been heavily criticized for the decision. But it is not just the media and fans who have expressed outrage. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that rival executives were shocked and dismayed that Washington claimed Foster, and La Canfora’s sources did not mince words. One GM said, “I wouldn’t even present [claiming Foster] to my owner. Maybe once we know the outcome of the investigation. Maybe as a free agent down the road once he’s cleared waivers. But I didn’t even think about claiming him. I couldn’t believe they did.”

Another high-ranking executive said, “What do they gain by doing this now? It reflects poorly on the entire league. It makes all of us look bad. They said in their own press release he might not ever play a snap for them. What’s the point? I’m kind of disgusted by it.”

In light of the strong outcry from executives around the club, any team interested in claiming the recently-waived Kareem Hunt may be having second thoughts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Patriots, Eagles, Redskins, Fins

While the Patriots haven’t historically paid up for free agent defensive lineman, Trey Flowers could be a special case, as Jeff Howe of The Athletic tweets. For one, Flowers is highly respected within the New England locker room — Howe deems Flowers a “model human being” with zero off-field issues. Second, Flowers and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick share the same agent (Neil Conrich), which could theoretically help push negotiations along. Flowers, 25, is part of stacked 2019 free agent edge rusher class that also includes Jadeveon Clowney, Dee Ford, Frank Clark, and DeMarcus Lawrence. While he’s posted only 3.5 sacks, Flowers ranks sixth in the NFL with 31 quarterback pressures.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

Latest On Redskins, Reuben Foster

Redskins decision-makers were split over whether to claim Reuben Foster off waivers from the 49ers this week, according to Les Carpenter and Kareem Copeland of The Washington Post. The biggest proponent of the move was team president Bruce Allen, who “masterminded” the idea. 

Foster was arrested at the Niners’ team hotel on Saturday night, marking the second time this year that he has been accused of getting physical with girlfriend Elissa Ennis. Ennis recanted the first allegation, but she is cooperating with authorities this time around and her attorney says she will “participate in the [legal] process.”

The 2017 first-round pick is undeniably talented, but the Redskins’ decision to add him to the roster has been widely criticized. That may explain why Allen chose to have Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams quoted in the team’s press release rather than himself.

The Redskins fully understand the severity of the recent allegations made against Reuben,” Williams said in the statement. “If true, you can be sure these allegations are nothing our organization would ever condone.”

Shortly after claiming Foster, the Redskins announced that the linebacker will not play until his legal situation is resolved. They won’t have the opportunity to do that anyway – the NFL placed Foster on the commissioner’s exempt list, meaning that he cannot play or practice for the Redskins until the league office gives its blessing.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.