After Redskins claim his rights, NFL places troubled linebacker Reuben Foster on Exempt list

Reuben Foster of the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. – The Redskins have a new linebacker – and he’s immediately the most-controversial member of the team.

Washington claimed talented, but troubled linebacker Reuben Foster off waivers. The 2017 first round draft pick (31st overall) was cut by the San Francisco 49ers Sunday after being arrested at the team hotel on suspicion of domestic violence. Within hours of the acquisition, the NFL placed Foster on the Commissioner’s Exempt list. This designation means Foster may not practice or attend games, but with the club’s permission he may be present at the club’s facility on a reasonable basis for meetings, individual workouts, therapy and rehabilitation, and other permitted non-football activities.

Quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks evades Reuben Foster. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

Foster, 24, was arrested after Tampa police officers responded to the Grand Hyatt hotel shortly after 9 p.m. Saturday, according to a release from the city. The former first-round NFL draft pick was charged with one count of first-degree misdemeanor domestic violence and booked into the Hillsborough County Jail, the release says. Foster’s former team, the San Francisco 49ers, was in town to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday.

He was charged with felony domestic violence in April for allegedly attacking his girlfriend in February at their home, leaving her bruised and with a ruptured eardrum, the Santa Clara County District Attorney said. The charges were dismissed after the victim recanted her story, although the Santa Clara DA’s office said the evidence demonstrated he “seriously hurt his girlfriend.”

Reuben Foster of the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images)

The NFL had suspended him without pay for the first two games of this season in relation to a weapons offense and a misdemeanor drug offense that were resolved earlier this year, the 49ers said in a statement on its website. In his two seasons with San Francisco, Foster played in 16 games and recorded 84 tackles.

In a statement, the Redskins say they “fully understand the severity of the recent allegations” made against the linebacker.

Prior to being selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, he was also sent home early from the combine after getting into a heated discussion with a hospital worker while waiting to get tested. His urine sample also came back as a diluted sample which, according to the NFL’s substance abuse policy, is considered a positive test.

After a rookie season in which he was the highest-graded rookie linebacker according to Pro Football Focus, so far in 2018 – Foster has an overall grade of just 44.3, which ranks 76th out of 85 qualifying linebackers.

The addition of Foster gives the Redskins yet another University of Alabama product on defense – joining Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Ryan Anderson and Shaun Dion Hamilton.