Reuben Foster's offseason plan: Work on strength, tackling technique


Reuben Foster's offseason plan: Work on strength, tackling technique

SANTA CLARA – There were reports that some NFL teams believed linebacker Reuben Foster would require surgery before ever playing in an NFL game.

On Sunday, Foster will play his ninth game of his rookie season and he said he will not need any kind of offseason surgery on his right shoulder. Foster said his offseason will consist of work with Ray Wright, the team’s strength and conditioning coach, and following the direction of head athletic trainer Jeff Ferguson.

“No procedure, just listen to the strength and conditioning coach and really train and just listen to Ferg and do what they ask me to do,” Foster said.

Foster, whom the 49ers chose with the No. 31 overall pick, missed five games early in the season due to a high ankle sprain. He missed another game due to a ribs injury.

In the past two games, Foster left the lineup after sustaining stingers in his neck and shoulder area. But those issues were not related to the surgery he underwent on his right rotator cuff, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said this week.

“The shoulder did not cause any problems, at all,” Foster said. “It’s football. You catch the wrong hit, angle, whatever. It’s a little stinger. It’s no biggie.”

Foster is second on the 49ers with 67 tackles, ranking behind only cornerback Dontae Johnson. Foster admits he will likely have to change his hard-hitting tackling style to maximize his career.

“I need to learn more technique,” Foster said. “Anybody wants to blow through somebody. I got to learn the fundamentals and what the coaches say and get on my technique.”

Foster said he expects to benefit from an entire offseason of working out, rather than merely rehabbing from surgery.

“It’s going to be hard to change my style of play, but that will come with the offseason of getting the right shoulder strength and traps (trapezius) and getting dialed in on body maintenance,” Foster said. “Not holding the shoulder surgery against me, but that I need that training and to find a way to play aggressive and not hurt myself.”

Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh believes Foster can adjust his game to dish it more punishment while not experiencing the down side of those big collisions.

“This is going to sound ludicrous in a way, but I think he can be even more explosive and more violent when he hits with proper technique," Saleh said. "When he learns to run his feet through contact he’s going to destroy people, without hurting himself. That’s something that he’s got to work on through the offseason is how to tackle the right way, because when you see him he just throws his entire body in there.

"But if he learns to actually accelerate through contact with his shoulder through the sternum or shoulder through the thigh, those hits will just be what’s already explosive will be even twice that. There’s an element that he needs to work on with regards to his technique and tackling to not put his body at so much risk and I truly believe when he does figure it out it’ll be even more explosive.”

Report: Stubblefield taken into custody, booked into jail in no-bail case

Santa Clara Sheriff Office

Report: Stubblefield taken into custody, booked into jail in no-bail case

Former 49ers defensive lineman Dana Stubblefield is behind bars. 

According to the Mercury News, Stubblefield was led away from court to jail in handcuffs Friday after a judge found there was probable cause to hold him over for trial on charges of rape stemming from May 2015. 

Stubblefield is charged with raping an intellectually disabled woman on April 9, 2015 at his Morgan Hill home when she had gone to interview for a babysitting job. 

According to the same report, Stubblefield had been free on $250,000 bail for more than a year. But the judge ordered him taken into custody Friday after prosecutors formally added the allegation that Stubblefield used a gun during the assault, which made it a no-bail case.

Stubblefield has pleaded not guilty and publicly denied the five felony charges and gun enhancement that prosecutors say could lead to at least 15 years to life in prison if he is convicted.

Stubblefield played 11 seasons in the NFL, including the first five with the 49ers. He later returned to the 49ers in 2001 and ’02, before finishing his career with the Raiders.

Stubblefield, a first-round pick of the 49ers in 1993, was the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year after recording 10.5 sacks. He was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year with a career-high 15 sacks in 1997. He signed a lucrative contract with Washington in 1998.

Drafted by Baalke with injury, former 49ers WR signs with Colts


Drafted by Baalke with injury, former 49ers WR signs with Colts

The 49ers recently re-signed eight of the 10 players who finished the season on the team’s practice squad.

Wide receiver DeAndre Smelter, who was not among the first wave of 49ers signings to 2018 contracts, signed Wednesday with the Indianapolis Colts, ending his three-season association with the organization.

Smelter was one of general manager Trent Baalke’s redshirt draft picks. The team selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 draft despite a torn ACL that ended his final season at Georgia Tech.

Smelter spent his first season on an injured list. He was waived at the beginning of the past two seasons, finishing both years on the 49ers’ practice squad. Smelter appeared in two games in 2016 and caught one pass for 23 yards.

Last season, the 49ers signed wide receivers Louis Murphy and Max McCaffrey to spots on the 53-man roster instead of Smelter, who remained on the practice squad.

Wide receiver DeAndre Carter, who also spent the entire season on the practice squad, was signed recently to the team’s 90-man roster.

Others who finished the season on the 49ers practice squad to remain on the team’s offseason roster are: quarterback Nick Mullens, tight end Cole Wick, offensive linemen Andrew Lauderdale and Pace Murphy, linebacker Boseko Lokombo, and defensive backs Trovon Reed and Channing Stribling.

The 49ers also signed fullback Malcolm Johnson, who spent last season on injured reserve with the Seattle Seahawks. Johnson appeared in 19 games over the 2015 and ’16 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. He was a sixth-round draft pick in ’15.

Offensive linemen Cameron Hunt, who finished the season on the 49ers’ practice squad, remains unsigned. Guard JP Flynn is also unsigned. He sustained a torn patellar tendon in November and underwent surgery that was expected to keep him out up to nine months.