On draft day, former Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster plummeted in the first round because teams were scared off by an injury to his shoulder. The 49ers, however, weren’t fazed, and moved up to take him late in Round 1.
Already, it appears the 49ers knew what they were doing.
On Sunday, Foster looked totally fit and healthy in his first full day of wearing helmet and full pads in training camp in Santa Clara. Foster had an interception and went full speed.
“It was just a thrill to finally put some pads on,” said Foster, who’d been carefully managed through offseason workouts since draft day. “Finally.”
According to Nick Wagoner, who covers the 49ers for ESPN.com, it had been 202 day since Foster had worn pads for Alabama in the College Football Playoff national championship game against Clemson. After that game he had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. Though Foster was considered perhaps the best linebacker in the draft, he fell to the 49ers, who were thrilled to select him, along with defensive end Solomon Thomas, the team’s top choice, No. 3 overall.
Now, Foster is cleared for all practices and activities, and should be on track to play a complete exhibition-game schedule.
General manager John Lynch said he saw how eager Foster was to get back into action.
“He’s an alpha dog,” Lynch told Wagoner. “He wants to lead. He’s ready, he’s eager and we are certainly excited to watch him play.”
So far, Wagoner reports Foster has worked with the third-team defensive unit at weakside linebacker, where he will compete for a starting role against veteran Malcolm Smith.
In his first three practices, Foster had two interceptions, reports Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.
Veteran middle linebacker NaVorro Bowman told Wagoner he’s been impressed by Foster’s instincts and intelligence. Said Bowman: “I really do think he’ll have a successful career.”
Foster will get his first chance to play in the 49ers’ exhibition opener versus the Chiefs in Kansas City on Aug. 11.