Grant Cohn: 49ers take vow of silence while Reuben Foster questions remain

Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch were seemingly everywhere a week and a half ago, then Foster got arrested.|

Where did John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan go all of a sudden?

That's my first question for them.

Those two were everywhere until about a week and a half ago. They were on a junket. They were marketing the 49ers as a free-agent destination. Celebrating five meaningless wins to end the season. Congratulating themselves for signing Jimmy Garoppolo, a quarterback with seven career starts, to the biggest contract in NFL history.

They held formal press conferences in their auditorium. They held informal press conferences in their media room. They held weekly press conferences on local radio stations.

Then, Reuben Foster got arrested for the second time in five weeks. Arrested for domestic violence, criminal threats and possession of an illegal assault rifle.

Now, total silence from Lynch and Shanahan.

Of course, the 49ers released their usual written statement, assuring us they're aware of the report regarding Foster, they take the matter seriously and are gathering information — this information gathering is taking a very long time.

The 49ers have used that statement the past 10 years, a period spanning five head coaches and three general managers. Lynch and Shanahan almost certainly didn't write the statement.

Our first chance to hear words come directly from their mouths probably will be next week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

Lynch and Shanahan probably don't want to speak at that event — I wouldn't either if I were them. I'd continue hiding.

And they don't have to speak. Last year, no one spoke from the Patriots, Saints or Redskins. But, at least one person from the other 29 teams — the head coach, general manager or both — spoke at the Combine. Lynch and Shanahan spoke. Were dying to speak.

How do they feel about facing the media now?

They won't have to face me — I'm not attending the Combine. But if I were there, I'd have serious questions, questions about Reuben Foster, questions they need to answer. You bet I would. I'd want to get Lynch and Shanahan on the record.

Here's what I'd ask:

Are you still 'gathering information' about Foster's second arrest?

If so, what's taking so long?

How did you gather information so quickly last year after police arrested cornerback Tramaine Brock for domestic violence? You cut him hours later.

Why was your information about Brock incorrect? You seemed certain he was guilty, but he wasn't. He didn't get charged for a crime, or suspended by the league. He played with the Vikings last season.

Did you cut Brock because he was expendable and you wanted to appear tough on domestic violence? Were you putting on a show?

Are you keeping Foster because he's not expendable and he's more talented than Brock? Do you even care about doing the morally correct thing?

If not, what message does that send to your young team?

Do you know where Foster's case stands right now?

When do you expect the district attorney to file charges against Foster?

When is Foster's arraignment?

If he's charged, do you expect he'll have any restrictions while he awaits trial? Will he be able to leave the state?

Will the D.A. charge Foster with anything in addition to domestic violence, criminal threats and possession of an illegal assault rifle?

Will some of Foster's charges be felonies? If so, how many? Two? Three?

When will you receive the complete police report from local law enforcement? Or have you received it already, and not disclosed it?

Is it true Foster injured his girlfriend while attempting to physically drag her out of his house, as the San Jose Mercury News reported?

Was Foster under the influence of drugs or alcohol or both during this incident?

Have you received any communication from the league regarding this matter?

Has the league told you if it plans to suspend Foster next season? And if so, for how many games?

If the NFL suspends him, which players currently on your roster can take Foster's starting spot at middle linebacker?

Is there one player on your roster who can replace Foster, or will you have to replace him with two players – one in the base defense, and one in the nickel defense?

Are you operating this offseason under the assumption the NFL will suspend Foster next season?

How has Foster's potential suspension changed your preliminary free-agent search and draft board?

Which players are you targeting in free agency to replace Foster?

Which positions are you targeting in the draft to replace Foster?

Will you target a starting middle linebacker?

Do you really think Foster won't get arrested again?

How do you plan to keep him out of trouble? You can't even have contact with him until OTAs start in May.

Do you understand now why 30 other teams passed on him during the draft?

Do you realize how happy they are that you drafted him instead of them?

How much longer will you let Foster's arrests overshadow your team?

How many more chances will you give him?

How do you like these questions?

Grant Cohn covers the 49ers for The Santa Rosa Press Democrat and You can reach him at

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