We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, nearly 1.5 million people used their mobile devices to visit our sites.
Already a subscriber?
Wow! You read a lot!
Reading enhances confidence, empathy, decision-making, and overall life satisfaction. Keep it up! Subscribe.
Already a subscriber?
Oops, you're out of free articles.
Until next month, you can always look over someone's shoulder at the coffee shop.
Already a subscriber?
We don't just cover the North Bay. We live here.
Did You Know? In the first 10 days of the North Bay fire, we posted 390 stories about the fire. And they were shared nearly 137,000 times.
Already a subscriber?
Supporting the community that supports us.
Obviously you value quality local journalism. Thank you.
Already a subscriber?
Oops, you're out of free articles.
We miss you already! (Subscriptions start at just 99 cents.)
Already a subscriber?

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.



Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.


Well, if you had “early February 2018” in the pool for when disgraced Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel was going to pitch his comeback — congratulations.

Johnny M. was booked on a national morning TV show last week to tell the world that he is contrite, sober and aware that he has no one to blame but himself. He’s ready to put in the hard work and hopes for a second chance.

The NFL yawned.

If you missed that interview, no worries. The 49ers’ Reuben Foster will almost surely be doing one soon. Because now, he really, really gets it.

Which is to ignore the laundry line of red flags that trailed both Manziel and Foster to the NFL and beyond. Ever notice how trouble just seems to follow some guys around? Other NFL players never crack the police blotter. Do you think it is just bad luck?

Because it looks more like a trend. And the fallback narrative … that they didn’t realize how serious this is … is nonsense.

No need to run through the crime sheet for Manziel. He’s done it all: missed meetings, abused drugs, been drunk and disorderly and committed domestic abuse. His own father said he feared Manziel wouldn’t live to “his 24th birthday.” When the Browns cut him the city of Cleveland, which once embraced him, cheered.

Foster doesn’t have as long a list, but it is troubling. Although not as serious as the alleged domestic abuse of his girlfriend, it is Foster’s marijuana bust in Alabama on Jan. 12 that sets the bar for entitled cluelessness.

Foster already blew the drug test at the NFL scouting combine, testing for a “diluted sample.” You can read that as you wish, but the NFL assumes it was a masking agent for drugs — a positive test.

You know what they say: It isn’t a drug test, it’s an intelligence test. You know the day you are going to be tested. You know you can’t have drugs in your system. And you blow it.

Testing positive automatically entered Foster into the league’s substance abuse intervention program. League policy is that a second marijuana violation triggers a fine that essentially amounts to two game paychecks. That’s steep.

Also, Joel Corry, a former NFL agent, said on the 49ers Insider Podcast that Foster could be out as much as $2.5 million.

Corry says Foster’s contracts for 2018 and 2019 are guaranteed, so he gets paid no matter what. But Corry said his contract probably has language in it saying the guarantees are off if he is fined by league for substance abuse.

Foster can still get the salary, but he has to make the team to earn it. So if he gets cut by the 49ers for whatever reason … no money.

It is the kind of penalty you’d think would grab a young player’s attention.

And, despite that, he gets pulled over on a Friday night in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and is arrested for marijuana possession.

Now you’re going to say: big deal. Pot is legal in California.

Yeah, but not in Alabama. They think it is the gateway to heroin. And if anyone knows that it is Foster, whose hometown is Auburn.

I’d even go along with a conspiracy theory that the cops were stalking Foster. Maybe they were targeting a young black guy they thought was big-shotting around town.

But that’s even MORE reason to be extra careful. You know the deep south, you understand the consequences. You can’t have weed in the car. And you still do it.

That’s not a slip. It’s a trend.

And then, just after the 49ers had face-palmed themselves for the stupidity, Foster’s story took a really dark turn — allegations of domestic abuse and possession of an assault rifle.

Forty-Niners general manager John Lynch must be furious. Lynch sat down with Foster, sized him up and took a chance. After 30 teams passed because of questions about Foster’s health and maturity, Lynch drafted him and praised him to the skies.

Foster made Lynch look like a fool. People will say you can give Lynch a big grin and a few platitudes and he’ll buy anything.

You know what the 49ers are thinking. They invested a first-round draft choice in Foster. With his talent, he might become an All-Pro. How will the team recover if it loses him from the roster?

Well, probably the same way it did when Pro Bowl linebacker and model citizen Patrick Willis unexpectedly retired in his prime. Or when another terrific linebacker, Chris Borland, shocked everyone and left the game after just one year. Life, and football, goes on.

Is it possible that if Foster is cut he will get his life together and become a good player on another team? Sure.

But consider the alternative. First, the awkward press conference where you tell everyone that the 49ers absolutely have a zero-tolerance policy for domestic violence — unless the player is an outstanding linebacker.

And that you are going to take a chance, keep him, and hope he sees the light. You spend the rest of his career hoping he doesn’t slip again.

Good luck with that. Because that’s not his history.

It’s tough, but Foster’s got to go.

Contact C.W. Nevius at cw.nevius@pressdemocrat.com. Twitter: @cwnevius.

Show Comment