Foster could be cut by 49ers


On Monday, Lynch addressed the charges against Foster, and the team's handling of the situation, for the first time publicly since Foster was charged April 12.

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster, rear, arrives with his attorney, Joshua Bentley, right, for an arraignment hearing at the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, April 12, 2018.

Lynch said character was a prime concern past year and noted the 49ers did a "thorough dive" on Foster, which included sending team officials like team chaplain Earl Smith and Keena Turner, a former linebacker who runs their player-engagement department, to visit with Foster for two days in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Foster is not participating in the 49ers voluntary offseason program that began a week ago, and he won't be welcome at the team facility through the June minicamps, Lynch said. And in this case, we don't feel we have that information, so we're going to wait and let this thing play out. Say, kneeling during the national anthem for social awareness, for instance.

For now, with the draft just days away, Lynch confirmed the team is operating as though Foster won't be around for the long run - which means drafting his replacement as early as Round 1 Thursday is a possibility. "We felt like while he was here, he was good, there was structure".

"That can be said for all of us", Lynch said.

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"Yeah, I think you have to (operate that way), because the situation's out there", Lynch said. Provided we have that opportunity, I would love nothing more than for that to be the case. Lynch said he thought Foster functioned fine during the season while with the team. "We take it extremely seriously".

"That's yet to be determined", he said.

The 49ers drafted Foster 31st overall previous year after questions about his health and character caused him to drop from being a possible top 10 pick. Now the most significant decisions will be made between he and Kyle Shanahan, who has final say on roster decisions, when finalizing the team's draft board. "I'm certainly not comfortable with what has transpired in the short history that he's been here. But we'll see where that goes".

In addition to three felonies, Foster was charged with misdemeanor possession of a large-capacity-weapon magazine.

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group.