Reuben Foster to Washington is just football being football


Reuben Foster to Washington is just football being football

Well, that didn’t take long.

Reuben Foster’s unemployment has lasted a day, and he is every bit a National Football League linebacker as we was three days ago.

Foster, who was released by the San Francisco 49ers on Monday after another physical incident with his ex-girlfriend, was claimed off waivers by Washington. Presumably, terms will be reached, he will be a football player again, and his new bosses will convince themselves that they will help Foster as he helps them.

And maybe it will be so. Whatever will be of service to his long-term health is the optimal result.

[RELATED: Foster on Commissioner Exempt list]

But that isn’t what this is about, and we all know it. Washington needs a linebacker, and Foster needs a job. It’s a football problem, solved by football people, thinking football ways.

Oh, Washington put out the standard statement saying how it will comply with all the steps Foster needs to take to make himself a more complete human being, but we’ve seen the statement before, a hundred times. It seems well-meaning, but it is pure by-the-numbers justification.

The non-football problem remains because that’s the one that football people don’t have any feel for, and that’s the hard work nobody wants to take on because it is too hard. Washington will use Foster for as long as it can trust him enough to play him, and then they’ll move on just as the 49ers did.

And don’t forget that the 49ers released Foster because they couldn’t trust him any more. Kyle Shanahan said as much in his 23-minute explanation of why the team’s affection for him finally had been trumped by his inability to deal with his off-field choices.

As for Foster’s new gig, it might be better for all involved if it were put on hold, but there is no sure way for anyone to know if hold is a better place. Most people focus on the reward/punishment angle, and Foster having a new job so soon after losing the old one seems to most folks to be unfair — and like football being football for the umpteenth time.

But the league’s track record on this is poor, because it wants people to believe that football is curative by design when it is only curative by accident. At times like these, with situations like Foster’s, it is too cynical a profession to solve problems of violence. It is, frankly, too violent a profession as well.

Beyond that, this isn’t about Foster’s well-being at all, or the well-being of those women he will meet from here on out. This is really about Washington, and what its end-game is. Traditionally, the football team’s end-game is to solve a short-term problem; it needs a linebacker, the sooner the better. Reuben Foster is available to them, under hideous circumstances but available nonetheless. So, problem addressed.

Washington’s problem. Football’s problem.

And that is why in the end football isn’t capable of delivering a solution to what really ails Reuben Foster and the people he has hurt. The NFL has been unwilling to admit the limits of its therapeutic value because it gets in the way of the football-solves-everything mythmaking, and it has been unwilling to say that it really doesn’t care one way or the other.

So it chooses to show that it cares about Foster the way a carpenter cares about a nine-pound hammer — as a tool that might serve a purpose, or be disposed of in the trying.

That’s where we are at here, and all the outrage on either side is just noise. Foster is a linebacker, nothing more, nothing less, and his only way to getting healthy so that the women around him can remain so will neither be served by his playing, or not playing. Washington has helped itself because, well, that’s what teams do. He has a new team to play for because, well, that’s what he does.

And in the end, what we have is a story that has moved too fast for anyone’s comfort. Reuben Foster was a 49er, but he kept hitting women, so the 49ers got rid of him and now he plays for someone else even though the problem of him hitting women hasn't been addressed. The 30-hour visual is off-putting, but it is only because nobody is trying to pretend any longer that this is anything other than football being football for the umpteenth time.

Jalen Ramsey trade: Jaguars deal cornerback to Rams for draft picks


Jalen Ramsey trade: Jaguars deal cornerback to Rams for draft picks

The 49ers really messed with the Rams' heads.

In the wake of Los Angeles' 20-7 loss to San Francisco in Week 6, the Rams first traded cornerback Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday, and then made an even bigger move.

The Jaguars traded cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Rams in exchange for two first-round and one fourth-round draft pick.

[RELATED: Why gap between 49ers, Rams won't close after Ramsey trade]

Ramsey is arguably the best cornerback in the game, and has widely been rumored to be on the trade block ever since getting into a sideline confrontation with Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone in Week 2.

The All-Pro cornerback got his wish and got out of Jacksonville. The 49ers will see him in Week 16 when the Rams visit Levi's Stadium.

Why Rams' Jalen Ramsey trade will not close growing gap behind 49ers

Why Rams' Jalen Ramsey trade will not close growing gap behind 49ers

Two days after the unbeaten 49ers sent the Los Angeles Rams to their third consecutive loss, the two-time defending NFC West champions reacted.

The Rams traded away cornerback Marcus Peters -- who intercepted Jimmy Garoppolo in the end zone Sunday and acquired linebacker Kenny Young and a fifth-round draft pick. Then, the Rams put the finishing touches on a trade to acquire disgruntled cornerback Jalen Ramsey from the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Rams sent first-round picks in 2020 and ’21 to Jacksonville, along with a fourth-round selection in ’21.

When Ramsey asked for a trade last month, the 49ers were not interested in paying the price, NBC Sports Bay Area reported. General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan were not willing to give up the high draft picks, coupled with the big contract that Ramsey will be seeking when his contract expires.

Ramsey is a great player, of course. He scheduled to make $13.7 million in 2020, the final year of his deal. The Rams are parting ways with two first-round draft picks for a player they have under contract for only one-and-a-half seasons.

If the 49ers’ 20-7 win over the Rams on Sunday showed anything, it’s that the Rams need a lot of help in front of quarterback Jared Goff. The 49ers’ defensive line thoroughly overmatched the Los Angeles offensive line. Goff looked shaken and unsteady. The Rams managed just 48 net passing yards.

The Rams have an obvious need on their offensive line -- especially with Andrew Whitworth, a 14-year veteran, lining up at left tackle. This could be the end of the road for him.

With the college game producing a dearth of offensive linemen, any team that needs help at tackle must invest a high draft pick to get a talented player at that position.

Los Angeles made the decision to acquire one of the league’s best cornerbacks for the next one-and-a-half seasons at the expense of, potentially, beefing up their offensive line with a player who could provide a counter-balance to the 49ers’ strength on the defensive line.

Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead have reason to be excited about facing this collection of Rams offensive linemen for a while.

[RELATED: 49ers' Breida impressed by defense in win against Rams]

Can Ramsey cover tight end George Kittle? That’s about the only way Ramsey can help the Rams in head-to-head matchups against the 49ers.

Lynch and Shanahan have put together a long-term plan designed at doing their best to ensure the 49ers can remain competitive on a yearly basis. This trade by an NFC West opponent is a big step toward them achieving that goal.