49ers

Jed York will make final call on Reuben Foster's future with 49ers

foster-ap.jpg
AP

Jed York will make final call on Reuben Foster's future with 49ers

ORLANDO, Fla. – CEO Jed York took responsibility for what the 49ers will decide as more information becomes available on linebacker Reuben Foster.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office told NBC Sports Bay Area on Wednesday no decision has yet been made whether to pursue criminal charges against Foster, who was arrested last month at his Los Gatos home for alleged domestic violence, threats and possession of an assault weapon.

York said he has not talked with Foster about the incidents of this offseason, including a January arrest for possession of marijuana in Alabama. However, general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan have spoken with Foster on multiple occasions.

“We’d love Reuben to be on this team,” York said on the final day of the NFL owners meetings. “And we’d love him to participate for us, but if he’s not doing things off the field that allow us to be able to rely on him – or he’s doing something that we’re not comfortable with off the field and it’s proven that’s what’s going on -- I think the guys have said then you’re just going to have to move on.”

The 49ers have dealt with off-field issues in the past involving Aldon Smith, Ray McDonald, Bruce Miller and Tramaine Brock. Each of those players were released after off-field incidents. Smith and McDonald had multiple run-ins with the law.

“I think everything has to be case-by-case because no incident is the same and no situation is the same,” York said. “I think we have certainly made mistakes in the past because we’ve been too lenient.”

The 49ers have not been pressed to make any decision on Foster’s future with the club. The first team-related activity of the offseason is scheduled for April 16, when the players are scheduled to report back to Santa Clara for the opening of the offseason program.

“Any time there’s an issue like that, we’ll have a discussion,” York said. “Right now, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done with Reuben. And we’ll handle that as it comes. You don’t want to say it’s easier outside of the season, but it is easier outside of the season because you don’t need to make a decision today.

“We have to wait until that (a decision from the Santa Clara County DA's office) happens, but that will obviously be something that we get together and discuss whatever comes down when those issues come up and figure out where we move from there.”

York said a priority for the 49ers organization is to work with players proactively to prevent them from the situations in which Foster allegedly became involved during his first offseason as a professional football player. The 49ers selected Foster with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2017 draft after being named the best linebacker in college football after his final season at Alabama.

“From my conversations with John and Kyle, I know Reuben is very cognizant of where his position is right now, and his time with the 49ers could potentially be over if he continues to do things outside of the team that aren’t what we want him to be a part of,” York said.

“It’s been weeks. I’m not going to say we’re satisfied. This is something that’s going to be an every-day situation, and not just for Reuben, but for anybody. You want to make sure we’re maintaining the level of expectations that we have of being the right type of organization and somebody that everybody in our community can be proud of.”

When it comes to Foster – or any other member of the organization -- and how the 49ers proceed, York said Lynch and Shanahan at the top of the football side of the organization will weigh in with their opinions and suggestions. But the decision falls squarely on York’s shoulders.

“Ultimately, you can say everything is my call,” he said. “So, if it comes down to it, if there was something I’m not comfortable with but football (side) was, I would ultimately make that decision.”

Chris Simms wouldn't be shocked if 49ers faced Patriots in Super Bowl

Chris Simms wouldn't be shocked if 49ers faced Patriots in Super Bowl

If you're looking for someone to slow down the 49ers' hype train, sorry, NBC Sports' Chris Simms isn't here to help.

Actually, it's quite the opposite.

Simms wants you to know San Francisco's 5-0 record doesn't lack substance, and he expects the 49ers to continue progressing to the highest levels this season.

Are they legitimate Super Bowl contenders?

"Yes they are," Simms told NBC Sports Bay Area on Wednesday. "They're not going anywhere."

"They are arguably the best team in football," Simms continued. "OK, yeah, I'll give the Patriots the advantage right now because they're the Patriots and we've seen them do it, but when I look at the San Francisco 49ers, I look at -- it's a first-round bye. Is it a one-seed, or is it going to be a two-seed? That's how good the San Francisco 49ers are."

Simms has been impressed by San Francisco's depth and balance, particularly within the offensive and defensive lines.

"It starts up front," Simms explained, "and the 49ers -- yes, Mike McGlinchey's out ... and I know Joe Staley's out, and that hurts, and we might not see him the rest of the year -- but when McGlinchey is back in the fold, this is still one of the best offensive lines in football. Let alone, [Kyle] Shanahan is one of the best game-plan designers in football with the run game, the play-action. And the defense ain't going anywhere.

[RELATED: Staley, Witherspoon closest to return among injured 49ers]

"They might be battling it out with the Patriots for the best defense in the sport," Simms elaborated. "It's the best front four in the sport I think right now, as far as size, physicality, ferociousness, their speed at the linebacker positions. I like Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt at safety. The corners are good -- they're coached well."

Put it all together, and Simms believes the 49ers have the potential to play into February.

"The 49ers are for real, and I would not be shocked if we were down in Miami watching New England and San Francisco in the Super Bowl," he said.

Hype train, full speed ahead.

Jalen Ramsey-Aaron Donald best NFL duo? Marcell Harris says this isn't NBA

Jalen Ramsey-Aaron Donald best NFL duo? Marcell Harris says this isn't NBA

The 49ers' much-improved defense has plenty of star power, but so do their rivals in Los Angeles after a blockbuster trade Tuesday. 

The Rams traded three draft picks -- two first-rounders and one fourth-rounder -- to the Jacksonville Jaguars for star cornerback Jalen Ramsey, giving LA two of the NFL's best players at their respective positions when you remember that defensive tackle defensive lineman force of nature Aaron Donald also plies his trade in Tinseltown. 

It'd be difficult to find two players on the same defense better than Ramsey and Donald, so ESPN's "SportsCenter" account asked on Twitter if there is a better duo of defensive cornerstones around the NFL. The problem, according to 49ers safety Marcell Harris? There are nine other players on a defense.

Harris has a point. Star power only can get you so far in the NFL -- even at historically important positions like quarterback or edge rusher -- because of the league's commitment to parity above all else. When it comes to the NBA, a team with the two best players on the court wins in the regular season and playoffs more often than not. 

[RELATED: Shanahan busts out jokes leading into 49ers vs. Washington]

While this is not necessarily Harris' gripe, the 49ers have a strong case to have a duo under consideration. Whether pairing defensive lineman DeForest Buckner and edge rusher Nick Bosa or swapping out one for one of linebackers Kwon Alexander and Fred Warner, San Francisco has a few cornerstones in its front seven. It's that group that made the Ramsey trade a head-scratcher to NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco, who argued that the Rams' offensive line should have been a bigger concern than their secondary, considering the 49ers' success in Week 6.

Still, Ramsey and Donald are as good as what they do as just about anyone else in the NFL. The 49ers will get their first look at them in the same defense in Week 16 at Levi's Stadium, and they'll see firsthand whether the duo's dominance lifts the rest of the Rams' defense.