One can only imagine what Reuben Foster is feeling after his roller-coaster week. And while these tumultuous few days may worry fans, Foster's future at Alabama remains sky high.
Foster started his week by committing to the University of Alabama despite a previous commitment to Auburn—Foster had even gone as far as getting tattoos to commemorate his loyalty to the Tigers.
But the nation's No. 1 inside linebacker's recruiting saga started long before his Monday flip-flop.
After seeming committed to a Southeast team, Foster took surprisingly last-minute visits to Washington and San Diego State just days before national signing day.
Foster's constant back and forth rubbed many a fanbase the wrong way, causing the recruit to take to Twitter with apologies to Alabama, Georgia and Auburn fans.
I think that Reuben would like to please everyone. And I think that he learned in this process that that's very, very difficult—and probably impossible—to do and I think that's probably what he feels bad about.
I think Reuben came here because he wanted the structure, he wants to get it right, he wants to do things the right way and we want to help him do that. I think he's got the right heart and the right character to do it.
Once Foster finally did commit to Alabama, it seemed things would calm down for the young man.
Until this weekend, when ESPN reported that Reuben's father, fugitive Danny Foster, had been arrested in Miami after 16 years on the run.
Foster had been on the run since allegedly shooting his wife while she was holding an 18-month-old Reuben.
According to ESPN's Kipp Adams, Reuben Foster had been surprisingly open about his estranged past with his father.
Kipp Adams @KippLAdams
Reuben Foster told me/other recruits about his father shooting him, but I didn't know he was on the run. Thoughts w/ Reuben.2/8/2013, 10:25:38 PM
After news of his father's arrest broke, Reuben took to Twitter with some heartbreaking comments.
Ferrari Foster 🏎💨 @ferrarifoster
Tears pooring!!! Never knew him but ain't nothin like a real father when you keep asking Foster side where your dad at and they lie about!!!2/9/2013, 1:25:04 AM
Ferrari Foster 🏎💨 @ferrarifoster
I knew he was out there but his family had to be hiding him!! I ask about you daddy every time we was… http://t.co/pm4qoERJ2/9/2013, 1:49:54 AM
When something like this first breaks in the sports world, our thoughts usually go to the people involved. And after something like this, Foster deserves to be in everybody's thoughts.
But as humans beings who live for the game, we like to think and ponder how such tragedies will affect the outcome on the field.
Will Foster be distracted? Will he take a break from football? How does this change things? Will Foster inevitably make the same mistakes as his father?
While there's no way to predict such things until Foster steps on the field, there's no reason to believe that this changes anything about the linebacker's future.
At 6'2" and 242 pounds, Foster is a force to be reckoned with in the middle of the field. He's fantastic against the run with an uncanny ability to diagnose the offense.
And as sad as it is, the fact remains that Foster hadn't seen his father for 16 years. For those 16 years, Foster continued to make big plays and be a force on the gridiron.
Let's not forget: In times of tragedy, sport can be an escape for athletes.
In Week 3 of the 2012 season, Baltimore Ravens receiver Torrey Smith's brother died in a motorcycle accident. He still played that night, finishing with 127 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
After the Jovan Belcher tragedy, the Kansas City Chiefs took to the field and beat the Carolina Panthers 27-21.
That's the beauty of competition. If anything, this will give the young man more reason to work hard and succeed.
As for any character issues, who's to say? Not this writer, as I've never met the kid. But, all signs point to him being a great teammate with a lot of personality.
If Saban's comments about his newest recruit aren't enough to convince you, how's this?
In a recent article ran by AL.com's Jeff Sentell, Chris Yeager—a high school coach who scouted Foster—was quoted as saying:
Reuben Foster would show up and be the first one out to practice. Always with a smile on his face. People gravitated to him. I think he's the best interior defensive player probably in the nation. I've seen a lot of them and of him and he's just incredible. Reuben has a magnetic personality and it is clear he is a true leader.
The fact that he signed his letter of intent dressed as Nick Saban shows that, if nothing else, the kid has a spectacular sense of humor.
As human beings we try to be understanding and compassionate, but as fans it's impossible not to find ourselves wrapped up in thinking, "What does this mean for the team?"
For now, it means nothing. Foster's stock hasn't changed. He's still a hardworking player responsible for huge hits like this:
The only thing that really matters right now is that he needs more support than ever. So don't worry about the team and don't worry about the player.
Worry about the young man named Reuben Foster, who's going through an incredibly tough thing right now. Please keep him in your thoughts.
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