TAMPA, Fla. -- The 49ers on Sunday morning announced the team is releasing second-year linebacker Reuben Foster, just hours after his arrest at the team hotel on a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence.
The 49ers stood behind Foster during his previous accusation of domestic violence, stemming from a February incident in Los Gatos, but the latest incident prompted the 49ers to announce they are parting ways with the former first-round draft pick, four hours before the team's scheduled kickoff against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan stated in April that any player who hits a woman would have no place on the 49ers.
On Saturday, Foster was arrested at 9:10 p.m. ET at the team hotel, and he was charged with one count of first-degree misdemeanor domestic violence. He was booked into Hillsborough County Jail at 11:11 p.m.
According to Greg Auman of The Athletic, Foster's bond has been set at $2,000, and a judge has ordered the linebacker to have no contact with the victim, who is 28-year-old Elissa Ennis, the same woman from the previous domestic violence case.
Tampa police said in a statement given to NBC Sports Bay Area that Foster, 24, and the woman, who wasn't identified at that time, previously lived together and were involved in an “on-again-off-again” relationship over the past three years.
Foster and Ennis were involved in a verbal altercation Saturday, according to police. Ennis said Foster slapped her phone out of her hand, pushed her in the chest and slapped her on the left side of her face with an open hand.
Officers observed a one-inch scratch on Ennis' left collarbone, according to the report.
In February, Ennis told officers at the scene in Los Gatos that Foster struck her eight to 10 times in the head. He originally was charged with felonies for domestic violence, making criminal threats and weapons possession.
A Santa Clara County judge dismissed those charges on May 23, ruling the District Attorney’s office did not show sufficient evidence to proceed with the case. Ennis testified during the preliminary hearing that she lied during her statements to investigators as revenge against Foster, who told her he wanted to break up with her.
As for her motivation for accusing Foster, Ennis said on the witness stand, “I was going to f--- up his career.”
Two months later, after reporting to 49ers training camp, Foster described the entire episode as a “learning experience.”
“It made me appreciate football a lot better,” Foster said. “It was crazy, knowing that football can be gone. Being back on this field with my brothers and these coaches, man, is a blessing.”
The 49ers selected Foster in the first round of the 2017 draft with the No. 31 overall pick. He earned his degree in human environmental science from Alabama, where he won the 2016 Dick Butkus Award as college football’s best linebacker. Injuries limited Foster to nine games during his rookie season.
The NFL suspended Foster for the first two games of this season for violations of the league’s policies on personal conduct and substances of abuse, stemming from an offseason misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana in Alabama. The league did not punish him for the alleged domestic violence incident.
Foster's suspension for personal conduct was from his no contest plea to a weapons charge, which was reduced to a misdemeanor, related to the marijuana case. He was sentenced to two years' probation, 232 hours of community service and $235 in fines.
The two-game suspension without pay amounted to a $103,024 loss of Foster’s scheduled $875,708 salary.
Last week, Lynch told NBC Sports Bay Area that he believed Foster was on the right path. He missed the two games before the bye week with a hamstring injury.
“We’re really proud of some of the steps Reuben is making, just as far as growing up,” Lynch said during the bye week. “His diligence to his rehab has been extraordinary. I’m excited to see him come and play. He’s watching film. He’s doing all the things that pros do, and he’s really growing in that respect.”