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What’s next for Reuben Foster in 49ers return?


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SANTA CLARA — Linebacker Reuben Foster understandably let a smile slip from his face and he gave a modest thumbs up Wednesday afternoon as he breezed out of the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice.
Foster’s life, and his 49ers career, can resume without the heavy burden of a domestic-violence charge, which Judge Nona Klippen dropped six days after preliminary-hearing testimony in which Foster’s accuser confessed she lied about an assault in a extortion attempt.
Within an hour of Klippen’s ruling, the 49ers welcomed Foster back into the fold. Come Thursday’s organized team activities, Foster can trade out the dark suits he wore to four court dates and finally pull on his No. 56 jersey.

#49ers Reuben Foster gives thumbs up leaving court after judge drops felony charges of domestic violence and making threats. Must answer June 6 to misdemeanor weapons possession that likely will result in fine, community service, weapon surrender. pic.twitter.com/LYpByr4WBf
— Cam Inman (@CamInman) May 23, 2018

General manager John Lynch, in a statement, said now that the domestic-violence charge got tossed, Foster “will have the opportunity to rejoin the team tomorrow.”
That statement came with a wise caveat:
“It has been made clear to Reuben that his place on this team is one that must continue to be earned,” Lynch added. “We will continue to monitor the remaining misdemeanor (weapons) charge.”
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Could Foster still face a NFL suspension and not be in uniform come the Sept. 9 season opener at Minnesota (and perhaps in the ensuing games)?
“We continue to monitor all developments in the matter which remains under review,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy told this news organziation.
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Now that Foster’s domestic-violence charges were dismissed, he’s not totally in the clear, not if the league wants to discipline him for a lingering gun-possession charge that was reduced to a misdemeanor, not to mention a lingering case in Alabama for misdemeanor marijuana possession that could impact Foster’s standing in the league’s substance-abuse program.
League policy mandates at least a six-game suspension if a player is involved in a domestic violence case, even if charges are not filed. But what if the charges are dismissed? Well, former 49ers cornerback Tremaine Brock avoided a suspension when his domestic-violence case got dropped by Santa Clara prosecutors last year.
San Francisco 49ers’ linebacker Reuben Foster walks into the Hall of Justice in San Jose, Calif., on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. A judge dismissed domestic violence charges against Foster and downgraded an assault rifle charge to a misdemeanor on Wednesday. (Randy Vazquez/ Bay Area News Group) 
Foster is due back in court June 6 for a pretrial hearing on the assault-weapons possession, a charge that was reduced to a misdemeanor as Klippen noted the gun did not violate federal law, it was purchased legally and it wasn’t used in a threatening manner. To solve that matter, Foster may simply have to pay a fine, do community service and surrender the gun.
Overall, Wednesday marked a rousing victory for Foster.
His career, for now, has survived this serious scare dating back to his Feb. 11 break-up-gone-bad with Elissa Ennis. That arrest came only a couple weeks after Foster got arrested Jan. 12 in Alabama for misdemeanor marijuana possession.

Judge dropped domestic violence charge against #ReubenFoster by citing how accused “unusually calm” in 911 calls, no photo evidence of injuries from being punched as opposed to street fight, and accuser previously going to jail for false DV claim against another ex-boyfriend pic.twitter.com/6PTMdHQaRc
— Cam Inman (@CamInman) May 23, 2018

Foster’s been estranged from the 49ers, or at least stayed away from the team’s training facility, since three felony charges were filed against him in April. The charges of domestic violence and making criminal threats were dropped Thursday when the judge cited the lack of probable cause to move forward with a trial.
The 49ers used a first-round draft pick last year on Foster at No. 31 overall as his stock fell amid off-field concerns and health issues. He missed seven games because of injuries — ankle, rib and shoulder — but still finished as their second-leading tackler, justifying the 49ers’ belief in him and even leading Lynch to recently describe him as a potential Hall of Fame talent.
San Francisco 49ers’ linebacker Reuben Foster walks into the Hall of Justice in San Jose, Calif., on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. A judge dismissed domestic violence charges against Foster and downgraded an assault rifle charge to a misdemeanor on Wednesday. (Randy Vazquez/ Bay Area News Group) 
While Foster worked out on his own, the 49ers opened their offseason program without him in mid-April, and they shifted into organized team activities this week. Korey Toomer, a veteran acquired in free agency, lined up in Foster’s presumed spot on the first-string defense Tuesday next to fellow inside linebacker Malcolm Smith, while the second-team tandem featured draft pick Fred Warner and a rotation of Elijah Lee and Mark Nzeocha.
Veteran Brock Coyle, who last year paired well next to Foster upon NaVorro Bowman’s release, tweeted his approval of Wednesday’s legal news by simply noting: “Welcome back my brother.”

Welcome back my brother. 
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