A misdemeanor domestic violence charge that led the 49ers to release linebacker Reuben Foster in November was dropped a day before his scheduled arraignment in Florida, according to court documents.
Foster was arrested on Nov. 24 at the 49ers team hotel in Tampa, Florida, after his ex-girlfriend accused him of swatting a phone out of her hand, pushing her in the chest and slapping her on the left side of her face with an open hand.
Despite the dismissal of the charge against Foster, the NFL could still punish him under the league’s policy on personal conduct. Washington claimed Foster off waivers and picked up the terms of his contract. The NFL placed him on the commissioner exempt list, which prohibited him from practicing or attending games.
Washington paid Foster $257,350 over the final five weeks of the season.
“We are monitoring all developments in the matter which continues to be under review by the league,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.
While Foster remained at Hillsborough County jail the morning after his arrest, the 49ers announced they were releasing Foster.
“We had a set of standards in place that the players were involved in developing,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said, just prior to the 49ers’ game that day against the Buccaneers.
“In this case, it was communicated exceptionally clear and to the point of what was expected out of him. Unfortunately, what transpired yesterday, this wasn’t a comment on what happened there, because that would be mere speculation on our part. It’s more of a comment on him not living up to what we had communicated, to the energy and the time that we invested into him.”
Foster and the woman, Elissa Ennis, had a disturbing and chaotic history that included multiple accusations of domestic violence.
In February, Ennis told officers 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 the domestic violence charges in May, 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 initial statements to investigators as revenge against Foster, who told her he wanted to break up with her.
In December, Ennis told ABC News that she lied under oath. She said Foster abused her and she did not tell the truth because she did not want his football career to be ruined.
“He called me out there to work on our relationship,” Ennis said of the incident in Tampa. “And, so, I was like, ‘I can’t believe you’re back doing this.’ We were both seeing therapists and stuff, trying to work on our relationship. And so I was like, ‘I can’t believe you’re back doing this.’”
Foster, 24, a first-round draft pick in 2017, appeared in just 17 games with the 49ers.
The NFL suspended him for two games at the beginning of this season for violations of the league’s policies on personal conduct of substances of abuse.
His suspension for personal conduct was from his no contest plea of the weapons charge, which was reduced to a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to two years probation, 232 hours of community service and $235 in fines.
Foster’s violation of the league’s policy on substances of abuse stemmed from an offseason misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana in Alabama.