Are Miami Dolphins Reuben Foster’s last NFL chance?

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

Former Alabama football, star linebacker, Reuben Foster is being given a look by the Miami Dolphins. Foster has not played in an NFL game since Oct. 28, 2018. A late first-round NFL Draft pick in 2017, Foster has played in 16 NFL games. He was a starter for the San Francisco 49ers in every one of them.

As an Alabama football senior in 2016, Foster was All-SEC and a Unanimous All-American. Befitting his reputation as 2016’s best linebacker in college football, he won the 2016 Butkus Award.

After an off-season surgery for a shoulder problem, Foster’s path to the NFL hit a couple of significant speed bumps. At the NFL Combine, Foster had a drug test failure, defined as a diluted sample. Also at the Combine, Foster got into an altercation with medical personnel and was sent home as a result.

As a physically dominating and aggressive player in college, Foster earned a ‘bad-boy’ reputation on the field. Off the field, he never got into trouble as an Alabama football player. After Foster’s troubles at the Combine, Nick Saban stood up for his former player,

"He’s always been a great team guy and really well-liked by his teammates. So if you’re looking for a good teammate to be on your team, Rueben is 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."

The NFL has long had many players who would fail in a ‘candy-striper’ role. Unfortunately, Reuben Foster was subsequently involved in multiple instances that created doubt about his character. In early 2018, he was arrested for marijuana possession in Tuscaloosa. The charge was later dismissed.

That ‘minor’ brush with the law, was followed a month later with another arrest as Foster was,

"charged with felony domestic violence, forcefully attempting to prevent a victim from reporting a crime and possession of an assault weapon"

The first two of the charges were later dismissed. The weapon charge was not but it was resolved by the payment of a fine. Before the end of the 2018 season, another domestic violence charge sidelined Foster. The NFL suspended him while conducting an investigation.

San Francisco area news outlet, the Mercury News summarized Foster’s time as a 49er.

"Foster might be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but he doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt from anyone — fans, teammates, coaches, or employers — outside of it. He used up all of that months ago.… in his 49ers career, Foster has more mug shots than memorable games"

The 49ers rightly or wrongly agreed. Foster has not played in the NFL since. His attempt at a comeback with Washington was derailed by a knee injury. After recovery, he has tried out for other NFL teams. None of them signed him.

The Dolphins may be Reuben Foster’s last chance as a football player.

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Foster is reportedly fully recovered from his knee injury. Mike McDaniel may give him another NFL chance. Hopefully, Reuben will make the most, rather than the least of it.