The NFL’s investigation into Washington Redskins linebacker Reuben Foster is still ongoing, commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday, and Foster could still be suspended even though the charges against him were dropped.
“We continue our investigation into that,” Goodell told reporters. “Whether the charges were dropped doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t a violation of our personal conduct policy.”
Foster was arrested on Nov. 24 in Tampa on domestic violence charges, a day before his former team, the San Francisco 49ers, was scheduled to play a game. It was his second arrest related to domestic violence, and the 49ers soon released him — leading the Redskins to claim him off waivers.
But the domestic violence charges against Foster were dropped in both cases — and both were brought against him by the same ex-girlfriend. Foster’s attorney has said he believes the more recent charges were tossed in January because of “credibility issues” with accuser Elissa Ennis.
Goodell, speaking to the press at his annual “state of the league” address during Super Bowl week in Atlanta, did not provide a timeline of where the NFL was in its investigative process.
“Reuben and I have met before. We will talk again,” he said. “But we’ll conclude that investigation, make a determination and we’ll go from there.”
Goodell also made a point of separating Foster from former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, saying “it’s not fair to put them together.” Hunt’s NFL future is also in doubt after video emerged of him shoving and kicking a woman in a hotel, which prompted the Chiefs to cut him.
Both Foster and Hunt are on the Commissioner Exempt list. Foster cannot practice with the Redskins as long as he is on the list.
The Redskins, for their part, do not seem to be planning for Foster to be punished.
“I don’t know why we would expect a suspension, but we’ll let the league finish up (the investigation),” team president Bruce Allen told reporters this month at the Senior Bowl.
If Foster receives a suspension, the case could begin to show parallels to the NFL’s suspension of Ezekiel Elliott for violating the personal conduct policy. The Cowboys running back was accused of domestic violence by his ex-girlfriend, but was never criminally charged. He still received a six-game ban in 2017 and appealed more than once for stays to be granted, but ultimately lost his case.
Foster served a two-game suspension at the start of the 2018 season, while still playing for San Francisco, a result of his earlier domestic violence arrest. However, in that case, there were additional charges of illegal weapons possession and a misdemeanor drug offense.