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Ex-49ers LB Reuben Foster reportedly suffers torn ACL, possible artery damage

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Ex-49ers LB Reuben Foster reportedly suffers torn ACL, possible artery damage

Organized team activities began Monday for NFL teams, and Washington suffered a loss shortly after the opening of camp.

Former 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster went down during the second play of OTAs with what appeared to be a serious left leg injury. He was on the ground for several minutes before being carted off while in tears.

After an receiving an MRI, Foster's injury appears to be very serious.

That's a brutal development for Foster and Washington.

[RELATED: 49ers have important competitions beginning during OTAs]

Foster was drafted by the 49ers with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, which was the beginning of a tumultuous time in the Bay Area.

The Alabama product was arrested three times and suffered multiple on-field injuries during his time with the 49ers. San Francisco cut ties with Foster last November after he was accused of committing domestic battery at a team hotel in Florida.

Washington claimed the linebacker off waivers a few days later. Foster recorded  84 solo tackles in his 16-game career with the 49ers.

The 49ers have since revamped their linebacking corps after Foster's departure. They signed Kwon Alexander to a four-year contract in the offseason and spent a fifth-round draft pick on Arkansas' Dre Greenlaw.

Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch hope Alexander, once he gets fully healthy, and Greenlaw can fill the role left by Foster's departure in the middle of the defense.

49ers' Richard Sherman explains importance of white QBs speaking up

49ers' Richard Sherman explains importance of white QBs speaking up

As the world protests police brutality from the aftermath of George Floyd's brutal murder in Minneapolis, athletes in all sports have joined the fight. 

Former Warriors forward Stephen Jackson called Floyd his "twin" and became extremely emotional on social media upon learning of his death and held a press conference asking America to finally get real about race. Steve Kerr, Steph Curry and many others have voiced their thoughts and anger as well. On Sunday morning, 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman expressed his thoughts on Twitter. 

As he saw his tweets, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reached out to Sherman. Unprompted, Sherman spoke on the importance of white quarterbacks like Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles, Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals and Clemson star Trevor Lawrence all speaking up following Floyd, an African-American man, being murdered in broad daylight by four cops.

“I’m impressed with the white QBs speaking up because those are voices that carry different weight than the black voices for some people,” Sherman said to Breer. “Which means the people who refuse to listen to a black athlete’s perspective will hear the same thing said from a white athlete, but receive the message much differently. So it’s awesome that more people are speaking out, because in sports, you really have a love and appreciation for your fellow man, regardless of race.

“And I think that’s what makes sports and teams so special, because a lot of the stereotypes are torn down. You really get to know one another, not judge based off nonsense.”

Breer initially asked Sherman if he believes it's a responsibility of himself or other athletes to speak up right now. The veteran cornerbacks feels it's more a case-by-case basis and nobody should be forced to, though it's clear he sees the impact on doing so.

“It’s always based on the individual,” Sherman said. “Because not everyone has something to say and not everyone who’s an athlete should be forced to. There are many successful people in this world with platforms, but not everyone should speak.”

[RELATED: Why 49ers are No. 4 in King's latest NFL Power Rankings]

In a time like this, Sherman's words on white QBs speaking up is extremely important. Kerr said Friday that Floyd's death led to a lot of soul-searching for himself and that white people as a whole haven't done enough. He's right, as is Sherman. 

This is a time for white athletes, and white people in general, to listen and to speak up. We (as in white people) can't pretend we know what people of color go through every single day. We can't act like we do and can't tell minorities how they should feel or react right now. Instead, as Sherman highlighted, we must listen and be a voice for the unheard.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

49ers' Kyle Shanahan believes Brandon Aiyuk can fill Emmanuel Sanders void

49ers' Kyle Shanahan believes Brandon Aiyuk can fill Emmanuel Sanders void

Brandon Aiyuk has big shoes to fill in the Bay Area.

The 49ers selected the Arizona State wide receiver with the No. 25 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, trading up from No. 31 to secure the YAC king before the Packers could bring him to Green Bay. Coach Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers have high hopes for Aiyuk, They had him ranked atop a loaded wide receiver class along with Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb, and even debated taking him at No. 13 overall.

In Aiyuk, the 49ers hope to get a versatile receiver who can step in immediately and help make up for the loss of Emmanuel Sanders, who joined the New Orleans Saints in free agency.

"It didn't matter where you put him and it didn't matter what the play was, and that's what we got a little bit with Emmanuel when we traded for him, and that's what I think we're getting with Brandon," Shanahan said, via ESPN's Nick Wagoner.

"This guy wants to be great. I want someone like that. And I think he has the tools to be great. I think he has the mindset to be great, and I promise you schematically we're going to give him every chance to do that."

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Aiyuk will join Deebo Samuel and George Kittle to give Shanahan three pass-catchers who excel at making people miss with the ball in their hands.

Samuel had a good rookie season and now is primed for a big sophomore campaign with Aiyuk in the fold. The South Carolina product hauled in 57 catches for 802 yards and three touchdowns and the sky is the limit for him in Shanahan's offense.

Aiyuk has an 81-inch wingspan and is a lot faster than his 4.5 40 he clocked at the NFL Scouting Combine. He was labored by a core muscle injury, but the 49ers have seen the tape and know his game speed can rival almost anyone in football. That's why they traded up to get him, risking their future trade for Trent Williams in the process. They believe Aiyuk's ability to stretch the field vertically and make people miss with the ball in his hands will make what was one of the NFL's best offenses even more potent.

[RELATED: Aiyuk's quiet confidence is a game-changer]

Sanders played a key role in the 49ers' run to Super Bowl LIV. He helped mentor a young receiving corps, blocked in the run game and became a favored target of Jimmy Garoppolo.

Those are big shoes for Aiyuk to fill, but Shanahan believes he's up to the challenge.