San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster was suspended without pay for the first two games of the season and fined an undisclosed amount, the NFL announced on Tuesday.
Foster’s violations of the league’s policies of conduct and substances of abuse stem from a misdemeanor weapons offense in Los Gatos and a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana in Alabama.
“I accept the league’s decision and am sorry that my mistakes have hurt my team,” Foster said in a statement issued through the 49ers. “I have a responsibility to the 49ers, our fans and our community, and I am committed to learning from this situation and making better choices in the future. The support I have received over the last five months has been humbling, and I do not take it for granted.”
Foster is eligible to participate in training camp and the 49ers’ four exhibition games. He will sit out the 49ers’ first two regular-season games: Sept. 9 at the Minnesota Vikings and Sept. 16 at home against the Detroit Lions. In Foster's absence, the 49ers have some options to join veteran Malcolm Smith at inside linebacker, including rookie Fred Warner, and veterans Brock Coyle and Korey Toomer.
He will forfeit $103,024 of his scheduled $875,708 salary for the season for being ineligible for the first two games.
Foster, 24, a first-round draft pick in 2017 from Alabama, is eligible to return to the 49ers’ active roster on Monday, Sept. 17, and play Sept. 23 at the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Our organization understands and supports the league’s decision,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a statement. “Although we are disappointed that Reuben will not be with our team for the first two games of the season, we will continue to work with him on making better decisions and eliminating unnecessary distractions. We are encouraged to see Reuben take responsibility for his mistakes, and hopeful that he has learned from them as well.”
Foster pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor of possession of an assault weapon on June 6. In lieu of a 30-day work sentence, Foster has to serve 232 hours of community services and two years probation.
Foster’s charge of possession of marijuana was dismissed when Foster completed a diversion course in Alabama.
On May 23, a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge dismissed charges of domestic violence and forcefully attempting to prevent a victim from reporting a crime. The judge ruled that the prosecution did show sufficient evidence during a preliminary hearing to advance the case to a trial.
Foster joined his teammates in Santa Clara the next day after remaining away from the team for the first seven weeks of the 49ers’ offseason workout program.