49ers to cut Foster after domestic violence arrest


TAMPA, Fla. — The San Francisco 49ers are releasing linebacker Reuben Foster after he was arrested late Saturday night at the team hotel on a charge of misdemeanor domestic violence.

The arrest report from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office said Foster was arrested Saturday at 9:10 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Tampa and booked into jail two hours later. Foster’s bond was set at $2,000 during a bail hearing Sunday morning along with orders to avoid any contact with the accuser. Foster was released on bond Sunday afternoon.

Foster’s latest arrest comes on the heels of a tumultuous offseason in which he was arrested on charges of felony domestic violence stemming from a February incident at his home in Los Gatos.

Niners general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan stood by Foster as the previous domestic violence case played out but both were emphatic that any more issues would likely result in Foster’s release.

On Sunday morning, the 49ers followed through on that.

“We have a set of standards in place that the players were involved with in developing,” Lynch said. “In this case, it was communicated exceptionally clear and to the point as to what we expected out of him and unfortunately what transpired yesterday, this isn’t a comment on what happened there because that would be mere speculation on our part. It’s more of a comment on him not living up to what we had communicated and to the energy and the time that we’ve invested in him.

“That doesn’t mean we don’t love him, we all do, we care for him but we feel like it’s in the best interest of our organization to move on at this point and that’s a very tough decision.”

Lynch was at dinner Saturday night when informed of Foster’s arrest at which point Foster was already in the custody of local police. Lynch and Shanahan then discussed releasing Foster, went to ownership with it and decided that parting ways was the best move for the organization.

The 49ers officially announced they will be releasing Foster in a one-sentence statement sent at 8:50 a.m. on Sunday. That move will become official on Monday when the NFL’s transaction wire resumes business.

According to the arrest report, the woman pressing charges against Foster for Saturday night’s arrest is Elissa Ennis, the same woman who accused Foster of felony domestic violence earlier this year.

Ennis recanted those allegations at the preliminary hearing, saying she lied repeatedly in an effort to extort money from Foster. That resulted in those charges being dropped on May 23 because of a lack of evidence.

Saturday’s report says Foster and Ennis were in an “on-again-off-again” relationship for the past three years and that she stated Foster “slapped her phone out of her hand, pushed her in the chest area with one hand and slapped her with an open hand on the left side of the face” on Saturday night. It goes on to say that Ennis has a 1-inch scratch on her left collarbone and that she intends to prosecute Foster.

Lynch declined to go into specifics of what happened Saturday night but said “unequivocally” that the hotel room in which Foster and Ennis met was not on one of the floors the team has reserved for players.

According to Lynch, when teams go on road trips, they generally have two or three floors reserved and each floor is manned by security. However, players and coaches are given the chance to reserve other rooms in the hotel for friends and family.

Foster’s latest arrest follows a string of off-field incidents involving Foster. Foster also pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor weapons charge related to the initial domestic violence allegations and was arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession in January in Alabama.

Foster was sentenced to two years’ probation, 232 hours of community service and $235 in fines for the weapons charge and completed a first-time offender diversion course to have the marijuana charges dropped.

Those issues resulted in Foster being suspended for the first two games of the season for violations of the league’s policies on personal conduct and substance abuse.

“He was really taking some very positive steps and maturing in a really nice fashion,” Lynch said. “Unfortunately, in life, there’s consequences for your actions and when you show bad judgment particularly after something has been communicated very clearly what the expectations are, there are consequences. And I think one lesson I’ve learned being around this league now for almost 30 years in different capacities is that no one is bigger than the team. That’s ultimately what this decision came down to for us.”

Foster’s time with the Niners will end after appearing in 16 games over two seasons since the 49ers use the 31st overall pick on him in the 2017 NFL draft. In that time, he had 101 tackles and three pass breakups.

Heading into Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay, Foster had been dealing with a hamstring injury that had him questionable on the injury report. He had missed the past two games with that injury.

Foster’s off-field issues began before the Niners drafted him after a run-in with a nurse at the hospital at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in 2017 and had a diluted drug test that placed him in the league’s substance abuse program before entering the league.

Despite those issues, the Niners decided to move back into the end of the first round to draft Foster, a move Lynch said Sunday he still doesn’t regret even though it didn’t work out.

“I think we learn from it,” Lynch said. “You have to learn from every situation. Ultimately, these guys are human beings and they’re young men and they’re fallible. I think one thing we have to do, we have to learn from the process and we have and we will.

“But at the same thing, you can’t play scared. You’ve got to trust your evaluations and remember back, and I’m not making an excuse, but we sit in these draft meetings and there’s a lot of information that comes out on these kids and like I said they’re fallible. His wasn’t nearly as bad as a lot of them. Ultimately, we have to own it and I own it. I think most of all it’s just disappointment.”