Reuben Foster Cleared for 49ers Training Camp After Surgery on Shoulder Injury

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistJuly 27, 2017

San Francisco 49ers' Reuben Foster during the team's organized team activity at its NFL football training facility in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday, June 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan announced Thursday that linebacker Reuben Foster has been cleared to participate in training camp, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

Rapoport added that the "team has been confident about his shoulder." The 2017 first-round pick had surgery on a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder in February.

"He's excited," general manager John Lynch said, per Joe Fann of 49ers.com. "He's champing at the bit."

Fann noted that Foster was "limited to individual and non-contact drills" during spring practices, and Friday will be his first work in 11-on-11 drills and scrimmages. 

"We almost had to put a leash on him to keep him out of drills," Lynch noted, per Kevin Jones of KNBR. "His excitement is infectious. He's an Alpha Dog."

Foster was considered one of the top talents in this year's NFL draft and a top-five prospect. But his shoulder, combined with some off-field concerns, dropped him well down the board. Eventually, the Niners ended that fall, selecting him No. 31 overall.

He has a legitimate chance to be a starter as a rookie and the upside to develop into a dynamic linebacker. But just how high is his upside?

"He reminds me of Luke Kuechly when I watch tape," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock noted. "He's an immediate impact player. Sideline to sideline, he will light you up."

"Foster is the best linebacker I’ve ever seen come out of Alabama," B/R's Matt Miller said, per Ethan Greenberg of the New York Jets' team website. "I’ve been doing this job six years for Bleacher Report, and I would take Foster over C.J. Mosley. He is a special player."

Expectations are high for Foster in San Francisco. Now, finally, the team and its fans will have the chance to see him without limitations in training camp.