It has been a good week for San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster after things previously weren't looking too encouraging.
His latest stroke of fortune came on Friday, when the Tuscaloosa (Ala.) District Attorney announced a marijuana possession charge against Foster had been dismissed, following his completion of a diversion course. Foster also was required to pay court costs and a $100 bail bond fee, according to reports.
This comes on the heels of Foster having domestic violence and criminal threats charges against him dropped after his accuser recanted her story in court and revealed that she was “threatening Reuben" and "that [she] was going to [expletive] up his career.”
Initially, the woman said it was Foster who injured her, “leaving her bruised and with a ruptured ear drum” after dragging her by her hair, him physically throwing her out of the house and punching her in the head "eight to 10 times" before changing her story and saying it was another woman who fought with her.
One legal issue remains for Foster: a weapons possession charge, which has been reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor because Foster's gun was deemed to be purchased legally and no federal laws had been broken. Foster is expected back in Santa Clara court on June 6 for a pretrial hearing on the weapons charge.
But even if, best-case scenario, the charges there are dropped, Foster might not escape NFL discipline. The league's guidelines for player conduct do not require a conviction for a suspension to be handed down. In 2014, following the high-profile domestic violence cases involving Ray Rice and Greg Hardy, the league instituted a new DV policy that required a six-game suspension for first-time offenders.
Foster has never previously been charged with domestic violence since entering the league, but as in the Rice and Hardy cases — along with the Dallas Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott last season — there have been plenty of examples of the NFL going through with a suspension even when their accusers refused to cooperate or when charges are dropped.
The NFL will investigate the Foster case and recommend whether or not to suspend him. Foster's weapons charge also could come with league discipline depending on how that is ruled. With Elliott, the league engaged in a lengthy investigation, so it's not clear if the NFL will have ample evidence to make a judgment on a possible suspension before the start of the 2018 season.
The 49ers' first-round pick in 2017, Foster also has a red mark against him following a failed drug test at the NFL combine more than a year ago, which was a violation of the league’s substance-abuse program even though he hadn't yet been drafted. Foster managed to avoid public trouble at Alabama after some disciplinary issues in high school, but character concerns are likely a big reason he fell to the bottom of Round 1 last year (31st overall pick).
Foster started all 10 games he played as a rookie for the 49ers, earning NFL All-Rookie Team honors with 59 tackles and a pass defended.