Alabama Football: Oh no, not again! Reuben Foster puts career at risk


Former Alabama football star, Reuben Foster is in trouble again, arrested for suspected domestic violence, threats and possession of an assault weapon.

Alabama football fans are worried Reuben Foster is barreling down a path that will damage and potentially even end his NFL career. For the second time in just weeks, Reuben was arrested. The first arrest was in Tuscaloosa for marijuana possession. The second arrest took place Sunday in California and it could lead to serious legal and career problems.

Last spring as Reuben was building off-field obstacles to any NFL team making him a first-round pick, Nick Saban defended him. Saban accurately stated Reuben did not get into any serious trouble while an Alabama football player.

In one of our earlier posts about Reuben’s post, Alabama football career, we said,

"It can be argued that gifted players are insulated from this kind of situation (trouble) throughout their college careers. By no means does Nick Saban coddle any of them, but considerable attention is given to keeping superstars away from trouble."

Nick Saban Defends His Players

When Reuben lost his composure and was asked to leave the NFL Combine due to a verbal altercation with a medical technician, Nick spoke up for him again saying,

"If you’re looking for a good teammate to be on your team, Reuben’s going to be very, very good. If you’re looking for somebody to be a candy striper and be nice to everybody at the hospital, maybe not."

Nick taking up for his player is commendable. He no doubt said something quite different to Reuben privately. Unfortunately, no amount of sage advice can insulate a person from failure. Nick Saban has made considerable effort to help Rolando McClain build a stable post-NFL life. Yet, McClain has continued to get into trouble.

Alabama football fans fear Reuben is on a similar path. There is no indication yet what the NFL and the San Francisco 49ers will do. ESPN reported,

"In April 2017, cornerback Tramaine Brock was arrested in Santa Clara on a felony domestic violence charge. The 49ers released him the next day."

The charges against Brock were dropped a few months later and he now plays for the Vikings. Reuben’s “diluted” drug test administered by the NFL and the Combine incident referenced above did not dissuade the 49ers from drafting Foster. Their post-Draft statement was,

"He’s got to stay — he knows it — he’s got to stay clean"

While the 49ers definition of ‘clean’ may be subject to interpretation, Reuben is at least at risk for not meeting their standard. He is likely to receive a suspension that in the years after the Ray Rice mess, have become almost automatic in domestic abuse issues. Since an x-game suspension would not occur until next season, the legal system’s adjudication of the arrests may have a big impact.

Does the NFL have a player support system?

Reuben had a great rookie season for the 49ers. It was as impressive in some ways as his stellar Alabama football career. Fans can hope his offseason problems will never occur again. To the extent he is guilty of any of the charges, it is not too late for Reuben to make amends.

Years ago, Alabama football coach Gene Stallings was criticized for not suspending David Palmer. Stallings had grounds for a suspension, maybe even a dismissal. He decided Palmer needed the support system from Alabama football to anchor better life decisions. Palmer credits Stallings decision for perhaps saving his life.

NFL team support systems are different from those of college programs. The 49ers can and will do only so much for Reuben. He will have to do much on his own or he risks losing football.

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Alabama football fans will be rooting for Reuben and for anyone his actions may have harmed. It is always sad when life derails football dreams. It is far sadder when a young person throws away opportunities.