One year and eight months after he was first claimed by the Washington Football Team, Reuben Foster finally addressed the local media in a formal press conference on Friday. As far as mid-August, mid-training camp Zoom sessions go, it was quite compelling.
The 26-year-old — who was recently removed from the PUP list, which signaled a major step in his recovery from last May's disastrous knee injury — came across as somewhat nervous to be doing an interview again. But even through those apparent jitters, he was able to describe what his life has been like since joining the organization.
"I've learned a lot," Foster said. "Just being humble, vulnerable. Understanding for a lot of things, of life. A real understanding of life. It's stuff that I can't really explain. It's hard to explain. I just know that my drive to get back on the field was insane."
Foster's devotion to the sport was a theme that popped up numerous times when he was speaking.
It's what he's thought about as he's been involved in multiple domestic violence allegations and seen his reputation plummet. Foster's former girlfriend recanted her testimony in the first case and the charges were dropped in the second, but even so, many will forever view him differently.
The desire to play again is also what's been at the top of his mind throughout an arduous rehab process that stems from going down on the third snap of OTAs in 2019. The damage on Foster's knee was more severe than a typical tear and had, up until this past January, caused him to lose feeling in his toes.
There is still plenty of work remaining on both fronts — Foster's character will be closely judged and any sort of future legal trouble likely will cost him his spot in the NFL, and he openly admitted he's not where he wants to be mentally when it comes to believing in his lower body — but right now, he's as comfortable as he's been in some time.
"I feel like God just put me here, just dropped me here, like, 'This the football child,'" he said.
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His road back, however, is still far from its final destination.
As mentioned, Foster was very candid about how practices have gone since coming off PUP on Sunday. He was obviously relieved to be a part of the action again, yet he noticed he was more timid than he'd prefer.
"I was happy about it, but I was focusing on my leg, like, 'Dang, am I the same again? Will I ever be the same again?' he said. "But I don't think to the point that it would stop my play style or whatever. I just got to get the confidence out there."
Not many pro athletes would acknowledge that uneasy mindset.
One thing Foster is confident in is his new head coach. Ron Rivera told the media that Foster has been "excellent" since Rivera became Washington's leader, and Foster was even more complimentary when discussing how Rivera's helped him of late.
"I trust him a lot," Foster said. "He's got my trust and dedication, and I think he's just a real stand-up guy, a trustworthy guy."
As a whole, Foster's Friday chat acted as a much-needed reset. It was necessary to hear his take on the drama he's been implicated in and the obstacles he's faced since leaving the 49ers.
Now, though, he's prepared to move forward, and perhaps the conversation surrounding him can as well. After having him address the controversial issues, the Foster-related discussions can largely shift to how he's fitting into the defense and what he'll be able to add to that unit.
Speaking of which, after months packed with uncertainty, that's one group Foster has no doubts about.
"Even me with a bad wheel," he said, "we've got this."
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