New Washington LB Reuben Foster suffered a season-ending torn ACL and additional damage in his left knee moments into the team’s first OTA session Monday.
Foster, the ex-San Francisco 49ers first-rounder who was released last fall in the wake of another domestic violence arrest and claimed off waivers by Washington, will have his supposed fresh start in Washingon delayed by at least one year after stepping on OL Tyler Catalina’s foot early in Monday's practice.
“I don’t know how to process it, really,” Washington head coach Jay Gruden said of Foster’s injury. “We’ve had some bad luck the last couple years, but this one takes the cake.”
Gruden’s team has been ravaged by injuries in recent years, losing second-round RB Derrius Guice last preseason to a non-contact ACL injury, weeks before new QB Alex Smith suffered a gruesome broken leg jeopardizing his career. Chris Thompson broke his leg in the middle of the change-of-pace running back's breakthrough 2017 campaign, and the O-line has been decimated each of the past two seasons.
Washington claimed Foster after he was waived by the Niners last November following his arrest at the team’s Tampa hotel for alleged DV. It was Foster’s third arrest in less than 18 months since being selected 31st overall in the 2017 draft. He was quickly placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, where he remained until April, when he was fined two game checks and reinstated.
Meantime, Washington's best linebacker last season, Zach Brown, only recently signed with—wait for it— the rival Philadelphia Eagles, leaving limited Mason Foster and unproven Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaun Dion Hamilton in the middle of Greg Manuksy's defense.
Foster, the ex-Alabama standout and a member of the NFL's All-Rookie team in 2017, was a top-10 talent in the 2017 draft but fell to the 49ers after a failed drug test at the combine. He was also sent home from Indianapolis following an altercation with an official during the combine medical tests, and there were even more red flags that emerged during the pre-draft process from Foster's time in Tuscaloosa.
Now, Foster's short NFL career has suffered another serious setback, and Washington—the only team to put in a claim for the troubled linebacker—appears to be left without a strong contingency plan for a player who has missed more games because of injuries and suspensions than he's appeared in.