Besides Reuben Foster himself, no one felt worse about the linebacker's torn ACL than his fellow inside linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton.

The two were teammates at the University of Alabama from 2014-2016 and spent a lot of time together while in Tuscaloosa. 

"I was bawling," Hamilton said about Foster's injury. "I was torn all last [week]. Just on the simple fact that we've been talking about [playing together] ever since he got here last November."

Besides just being close with one another, Hamilton knows the exact pain Foster is going through, as he's gone through multiple knee injuries himself. While at Alabama, Hamilton tore his ACL in 2016. Additionally, he fractured his kneecap the following November, which ultimately ended his Alabama career.

After Foster's injury, Hamilton made sure to spend time with Foster and do his best to keep him in good spirits. 

"I was over there with him for a few days last week, and he was like 'yeah, you'll be there for me, be able to help me out because you've been through two of these knee braces,'" Hamilton said. "So that's all I try to do, just be there for him because I've been through it. Just help him and keep his spirits up.

"I told him, 'it's going to be a battle,'" Hamilton continued. "But the thing is, a storm doesn't last forever. I'm going to be with him every step of the way. I know how it is when one day it's [more sore] than the other. One day you feel good, the next day it's painful. It's important you just have a level head."


Sure, Hamilton should feel for his teammate. But now that Foster is out for the season, Hamilton is suddenly the likely starter alongside Mason Foster at the middle linebacker position. 

That position comes with a lot of expectations and more responsibility. With Mason Foster, Hamilton will be asked to be one of the vocal leaders of the defense.

But in terms of added pressure? Hamilton doesn't think so.

"I don't look at it as pressure," Hamilton said on potentially having a bigger role. "It's just football. We've got a great group around us, and every one of us can play ball. It's not just me, it's all of us as a unit."

Hamilton emphasized that even without Foster, the team has a very talented defense. 

"You know, we got a great group of guys," he said. "Everybody is out here, working their tail off and supporting each and every one of us. We're working to continue to get better. If all 11 guys are executing, we can be good. It starts out with every day, people coming to work with their hard head on. [It requires] 11 [guys] executing, not just eight, not just nine, but all 11 executing."

Foster can still help the team in 2019, even though he won't be on the field.

"I just think the biggest thing is staying involved, staying around the team," Hamilton said on what advice he'd give to Foster. "When you're with the team, everything is great. But when you're by yourself and have a lot of time, that's when you get in a funk."

Hamilton should not take the de-facto starting linebacker spot for granted, however. The Redskins signed free agent linebacker Jon Bostic last week, and he certainly has a chance to compete for the starting job as well.

Bostic started 14 games for the Pittsburgh Steelers a season ago, before being released abruptly following the 2019 NFL Draft last month. In 2017, he totalled a career-high 97 tackles with the Indianapolis Colts.

"To be honest, I can't really speak on that," Bostic said on Foster's injury. "At the end of the day, all I can speak on is I got the call, and going forward, I got to prove myself again."

That sounds like a guy who is ready to compete. Bostic is still just 28 years old and his numbers show he can still be a formidable starter in the league.

Yet, his inability to stick around with the same team, as the Redskins mark his fifth team in six seasons, could be an added chip on his shoulder as he looks to fully establish himself with one organization.

"Physically, I feel fine," Bostic said. "I've been healthy; I've been playing well. At the end of the day, business is business... [I'm] very familiar with the defense, so now, it's just changing a couple of things terminology-wise."