- The Washington Times - Friday, April 12, 2019

The NFL announced Friday that Washington Redskins linebacker Reuben Foster will not be suspended for his November arrest, but will be fined two game checks.

That means Foster will now be eligible to play for the Redskins this fall and participate in the team’s offseason program.

Foster, 24, was arrested Nov. 24 after his ex-girlfriend accused him of striking her at a hotel. The arrest led the San Francisco 49ers to release the troubled linebacker, and the Redskins then claimed him off waivers days later.

Washington was heavily criticized for picking up the linebacker so soon after his arrest. Foster, however, did not play a down for the Redskins in 2018, remaining on the NFL’s Commissioner Exempt list while the league investigated the incident.

Foster could not practice with the team, though could be around them.

In May, he saw his charges dismissed.

“Everyone in this league is held to a higher standard,” Redskins President Bruce Allen said in a statement. “Reuben understands that his past actions have led a lot of people to doubt him, and he has committed to doing the work necessary to earn the trust of his teammates, our great fans, and the NFL.”

The Redskins have put a program in place to help Foster, which includes counseling, weekly meetings with the team’s player engagement director and team chaplain, a setup living arrangement and community service engagements.

In a statement, the NFL said any future incidents involving Foster would likely “result in more substantial discipline.” In addition to his November arrest, Foster was arrested two more times in 2018 — one of which included a domestic violence charge involving the same woman. That charge was also later dropped after the woman recanted, but Foster was suspended two games to start last season.

“We have been very clear with Reuben that his past does not have to determine his future — but the responsibility is squarely on him to change,” Allen said. “Reuben must fully adhere to the plan we have developed for him. Reuben knows that we simply will not tolerate any future conduct that is detrimental to the Washington Redskins organization or to the NFL.”

The Redskins, though, were planning for Foster to contribute next season. Allen told reporters in January that he did not expect the linebacker to be suspended.

Washington thinks Foster will be an upgrade at middle linebacker. Drafted in the first round in 2017, Foster had a promising rookie campaign with the 49ers — recording 72 tackles in 10 games. He had 25 tackles in 2018.

Foster will join inside linebacking corps that has Shaun Dion Hamilton, Josh Harvey Clemons and Mason Foster. The team released Zach Brown, who started 12 games last season, in March. The group also has a new positional coach in Rob Ryan after Kirk Olivadotti left for the Green Bay Packers.

Foster said he was grateful to the Redskins and the NFL for receiving a second chance.

“I appreciate the support I have received from the league, my team, and my union to help me succeed,” he said. “I want to thank Commissioner Goodell for the time that he has spent with me and for his understanding of me as a person. I accept the NFL’s decision and want to say that I am truly sorry for my past actions and the people who may have been hurt by them.

“Going forward, I will follow the plan outlined for me and work hard to earn back the trust of my teammates, the NFL, NFL fans and the community,” Foster said. “I know that my success is all up to me, and I am committed to not letting you down.”

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