Reuben Foster

49ers notes: Reuben Foster working on technique change that will 'save his shoulders'

fosterreubentacklered.jpg
AP

49ers notes: Reuben Foster working on technique change that will 'save his shoulders'

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers’ coaching staff is working this training camp with linebacker Reuben Foster to make adjustments to his technique. They want his hands to shoulder most of the contact in order to protect his upper body.

“It’s just trying to teach him how to create extension and space so guys just can’t latch on to him,” 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. “Utilizing his hands, getting his shoulders and his upper body out of there. That’s just base fundamental teaching for all our guys.

“It’ll save his shoulders. It’ll save his upper body. With the way he played a year ago, sometimes he would get into a position where it would be awkward to go make a tackle. By him being able to create separation and get off blocks properly and clear traffic, he’ll be able to put himself in a better football position to go maker a nice, clean tackle like a linebacker usually does.”

NFL teams were reportedly concerned with the condition of Foster’s shoulders last year before the draft. ESPN’s Adam Schefter quoted a “well-placed source” with knowledge of Foster’s physical condition as saying the surgery on his right shoulder “did not take” and would require additional surgery.

Foster was considered a top-five talent, but the 49ers traded up into the first round to select Foster at No. 31 overall. His physical condition and character concerns likely contributed to his fall. Foster did not require another surgery. But he battled a variety of injuries as a rookie, including an AC joint sprain on the same shoulder during training camp. He still finished with 72 tackles in 10 games and, at times, was the team’s best defensive player.

“He’s working at it, and it’s shown,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I think that’s the hardest thing for all athletes. You do things that make you successful your entire life, then you see there’s different ways to do things and ways that you can change things up to maybe help your career.

“But that just doesn’t happen automatically. We’re trying to get Reuben to use his hands a little bit more, not always fit with his shoulders and stuff. We’re practicing hard out there. He’s mindful of it so you can see him starting to use it. Sometimes he does what he’s always done, but if you practice that way every day then he has a chance in the season to have improved.”

Rookie with the Right Moves

Rookie wide receiver Dante Pettis has gotten off to a good start in training camp. He has the versatility to line up at any of the team’s receiver positions. And quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has also been impressed with Pettis’ variety of moves.

“He moves differently than most guys,” Garoppolo said. “He has some long limbs, long arms, long legs and it helps him create space with defenders. He has a unique ability, I call it wiggle. Whatever you want to call it, though, of just his body moves -- a certain way and he explodes out of the break and separates a foot from a guy. That’s all you need.

“As a quarterback, you love to see that. He’s young, he’s learning, just like all of these young guys are. It’s their first training camp. So, we all have a long way to go. But, he’s working hard every day and it’s good to see that.”

Staley’s High Praise for ‘Best Friend’

The 49ers’ decision to draft right tackle Mike McGlinchey in the first round and send Trent Brown to the New England Patriots has prompted no second-guessing around Santa Clara. It is clear that veteran left tackle Joe Staley is excited about his new teammate. He often jokes that McGlinchey is his “best friend” or “little brother.”

“I just see so much potential in that kid,” said Staley, a six-time Pro Bowl selection. “He has the absolute right mindset to succeed in the NFL. The guy is really, really hungry to learn every single day. He comes in meetings and asks the right questions. He’s really, really smart. He picks up the playbook really well.

“And physically, you see him come into OTAs right when he got here and was doing really, really well. He’s still making mistakes and he’s got a long way to go, but I see all the potential he has. I think he got nothing but great things ahead of him in his career. And I’m excited to be able to have that opportunity to be a mentor to a younger guy and teach him the things I’ve learned and hopefully he can surpass me one day.”

Sherman Working Up to Speed

Cornerback Richard Sherman saw an increase in practice snaps Sunday after getting a veteran rest day on Saturday. It definitely was asking too much for him to run with speedster Marquise Goodwin in a one-on-one drill, and Goodwin created several yards of separation to haul in a deep pass from Sherman. Saleh said the 49ers are looking to bring Sherman gradually back up to speed.

“He missed all of OTAs and had been working with the trainers. Just trying to get his football legs back. He doesn’t have anything to prove. He just has to get back in shape and get his legs back,” Saleh said.

“He looks really good. Sherm will tell you. But his mindset, all of the things that make Sherman great, are all there. It’s just a matter of him just getting his legs back underneath him and all that stuff. He’s doing a good job. He looks good.”

First Day Off

The 49ers have their first day off after four consecutive days of practices. The past two practices have been with full pads. The team returns to the practice field on Tuesday at 10:15 a.m.

49ers' Reuben Foster feared off-field issues could end his football career

49ers' Reuben Foster feared off-field issues could end his football career

SANTA CLARA – Of course, it crossed the mind of 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster that his football career could be over.

Foster, in his first public comments since going through a tumultuous offseason and receiving a two-game suspension from the NFL, said he felt something he loves could have easily been taken away from him after just one season in the NFL.

“It was a big learning experience,” Foster said Saturday after the 49ers' first padded practice of training camp. “I learn from every mistake, everything that’s said, all my flaws. I learned from a lot of things and just grew from it.

“It made me appreciate football a lot better. It was crazy, knowing that football can be gone. Being back on this field with my brothers and these coaches, man, is a blessing.”

Foster said the biggest lesson from his offseason was to approach life with the same energy and dedication as he approaches football.

“I learned every day I got to go harder at everything I do to better myself even more.,” he said. “It’s do or die. Just don’t mess up. Like trying to craft my football. I have to craft my life and go hard at it.”

Foster said he appreciated the support of his teammates, including newcomer Richard Sherman, and the entire 49ers organization. General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan did not cave into public pressure to release Foster after his February arrest after an alleged domestic violence incident in Los Gatos.

When the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office filed formal felony charges, alleging Foster hit his then-girlfriend eight to 10 times in the head, the 49ers expressed their intention to let the process play out.

Lynch and Shanahan exercised patience, while also promising that if Foster had, in fact, struck his girlfriend, the 49ers would release him.

“That’s the message that came through, and I respect it,” Foster said. “I respect it, because if I did, yeah. They stood by me, though. Brotherhood.”

The domestic violence accusations were dismissed on May 23. A Santa Clara County judge determined the District Attorney’s office did not show sufficient evidence to proceed with the case. Foster’s former girlfriend 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.

On Saturday when asked if he did anything wrong, Foster chose not to get into any specifics about what occurred.

“I respect your question,” he said, “but I don’t feel like talking about it. Right or wrong, people criticized me and thought I was wrong. But I’m not going to add any fuel to it.”

Foster will not be eligible to play in the 49ers’ first two regular-season games after the NFL ruled he violated the league’s policies on substances of abuse and personal conduct. He will forfeit $103,024 of his scheduled $875,708 salary for the season.

Foster’s suspension stems from marijuana and weapons charges. His marijuana possession case in Alabama was dismissed after he completed a diversion course. And he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor weapons charge and was sentenced to two years probation and 240 hours of community service and $235 in fines.

“It was painful,” Foster said of the suspension. “It’s football. It’s something I do, something I love. But it is what it is. You accept the consequences and you move on. You take it and you move on. You learn from it, too, and you grow from it.

“Knowing I got people behind me, coaches, my brothers (teammates) texting me, family members who have my back, it feels good when you have somebody (supporting) you. But other than that, it was hard. But (it’s a) small thing to a giant.”

49ers notes: It's no coincidence that Richard Sherman and Reuben Foster are locker neighbors

49ers notes: It's no coincidence that Richard Sherman and Reuben Foster are locker neighbors

SANTA CLARA – Richard Sherman is 100 percent healthy and ready to make a contribution on the field for the 49ers.

But that is only part of the expectation for Sherman, whom the 49ers signed in March, one the day after the Seattle Seahawks released him. Sherman is also being counted upon to be a positive influence in the 49ers’ locker room.

It is surely no coincidence that his locker inside Levi's Stadium is situated next to second-year linebacker Reuben Foster’s stall. Sherman said he speaks regularly with Foster, who will serve a two-game suspension to open the regular season after violating the NFL’s policies on substances of abuse and personal conduct.

“Obviously, there have been some mistakes and some up and downs this offseason and last year,” Sherman said of Foster. “But just like everybody else, he’s a human being, and human beings make mistakes. But I think he’s growing from those mistakes and moving forward and he’s trying to be a better man.

“I don’t think you’ll hear much out of him in terms of the off-the-field issues in the future. I think everything you’ll hear about him will be on the field and it’ll be positive.”

Six open camp on sideline

Starting linebacker Malcolm Smith, who missed all of last season with a torn pectoral, will not be on the practice field when the 49ers open training camp on Thursday. He was placed on the non-football injury list with a lower-leg condition.

“Something popped up and we’re not concerned about it,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “We’ve gotten over that because we looked into it. But we feel like the prudent thing is to give him a couple days right at the start just to make sure he feels good and we feel good.”

Players who open camp on the non-football injury or physically unable to perform lists may be activated at any point once they are medically cleared to begin practicing. Smith was among six 49ers to be placed on one of the injury lists on reporting day.

Guard Jonathan Cooper, receiver Trent Taylor and linebacker Dekoda Watson were placed on PUP. The 49ers expect each player to be on the field in short order.

“We feel like each of them, they’ve been cleared,” Lynch said. “They’re out of their rehab. We feel like there needs to be some conditioning.”

Cooper, who will compete with Joshua Garnett for the starting job at right guard, is returning from a knee injury he sustained in the season finale while with the Dallas Cowboys.

Receiver Trent Taylor underwent an offseason procedure on his back. He did not participate in the team’s offseason program.

“We’re just being prudent there,” Lynch said. “We want him to not have his first contact be on the field. Get him pushed around a little on the side.”

Watson sustained a calf injury during organized team activities.

In addition to Smith, the 49ers placed two draft picks on the non-football injury list. Defensive lineman Kentavius Street and safety Marcell Harris are returning from significant surgeries. Street sustained a torn ACL in a pre-draft workout with the New York Giants. Harris did not play in 2017 due to a torn Achilles in fall camp.

Pettis signs rookie deal

Wide receiver Dante Pettis, a second-round pick, became the final player from the 49ers’ 2018 draft class to sign his mandatory four-year contract. He will be on the field Thursday when training camp begins. As outlined in the NFL’s draft-slotting system, Pettis will receive $6.4 million over four seasons, including a $2.7 million signing bonus.

Staley: Surprisingly, Sherman is not annoying

The longest-tenured member of the 49ers has been pleasantly surprised with Sherman, who spent his first seven NFL seasons as Public Enemy No. 1 of the 49ers and their fans.

Left tackle Joe Staley stood at the side of the podium while Sherman addressed the media. He acknowledged that Sherman was a tough act to follow.

“I love him,” Staley said. “He’s a great guy. (It’s) awesome to have him on our team. He’s been pretty much the exact opposite of what I thought. I thought he was going to be annoying like he was annoying to me when he was in a Seahawks uniform.”