TAMPA, Fla. -- The 49ers gave Reuben Foster every chance. And he kept letting them down.
The organization that waited for due process to run its course with Foster’s domestic violence case in the offseason did not wait for the legal outcome this time.
On Sunday morning, the 49ers said they were cutting ties with Foster, just hours after he was taken into custody on another domestic violence charge at the team's hotel on the eve of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The 49ers might have believed what would happen during the offseason -- after coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch declared they would not employ any player who hits a woman.
They seemed to have a good indication that Foster would be cleared. And their patience in letting the process run its course appeared to be the wise move.
And what they believe now, their actions showed Sunday, was they also know how this will turn out.
They might not know what will happen from a legal standpoint with Foster. But the 49ers have a good idea about Foster’s errors in judgment and his actions. It is a pattern that has repeated itself, and there is no reason to believe he has learned his lesson.
After Foster was cleared of two felony counts of domestic violence earlier this year, he reported back to the 49ers, acting and speaking like a changed man. He said he feared that he no longer would be able to play football. That thought scared him, he said. Foster said it made him appreciate football even more.
But Foster did not take the necessary steps of a man who prioritized football as No. 1.
Anyone in the Santa Clara courtroom during the preliminary hearing in May could tell Foster and his on-again-off-again girlfriend, Elissa Ennis, were not good for each other. It clearly was a combustible relationship.
Immediately following the incident in February in Los Gatos, Ennis told investigators that Foster hit her eight to 10 times in the head during a dispute in February in Los Gatos.
During the preliminary hearing, she recanted. She said she lied because she wanted to destroy Foster's career after he told her was breaking up with her. She even admitted on the witness stand of making false allegations of domestic violence against a previous boyfriend in 2011 after he broke up with her.
Only two people know what happened between Foster and Ennis on Saturday at the team hotel. But what the 49ers saw from Foster isn't in dispute.
Foster again showed poor judgment in meeting with Ennis on a business trip. That decision was the last Foster would make as a 49er.
The 49ers placed a lot of trust in Foster when other teams clearly were not as convinced before the 2017 NFL draft.
Lynch has said the 49ers rated Foster as the No. 3 prospect on their draft board. But Foster’s stock plummeted around the league because of concerns about his character and his shoulder.
The 49ers traded back into the end of the first round to select Foster with the 31st overall pick. They took a gamble. They made an investment in Foster, the player and the person.
But, finally, the 49ers realized this was one relationship that simply wasn't going to work out for the long term.