As the days go by, it looks more and more as though Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster may have benefited more by not going to the NFL Combine in February. Before being forced to leave the combine early following a bizarre incident with a hospital worker, Foster reportedly submitted a urine test that eventually failed to pass the league’s drug test.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports Foster was notified last month his urine sample was treated like a positive test after coming back as dilute. Foster thinks the test came back the way it did as a result of food poisoning.
“I couldn’t eat much, but I had to drink water and Gatorade,” said Foster. “Then a few coaches said something about me being too light. And I’m a coach-pleaser. I don’t care what everybody thinks, but I care what coaches think. So I drank and ate as much as I could without throwing up. Then I went in there, drinking and drinking water, trying to flush out my system from whatever was making me sick and trying to keep my weight up and took the test.”
Savvy PR move by throwing in the comment saying he is a coach pleaser, by the way.
But on a more serious note, the NFL Draft is next week and Foster has widely been regarded as the top linebacker on the board. Going all out with the PR spin now before things get too far out of hand is the play to make right now for Foster and his camp.
In discussing his trying few months, Foster disclosed the test results to NFL.com because, he says, “This is something that’s going to get out. I don’t make excuses. I’m a real dude. I try to be a good person. … I just hope the coaches understand and that’s all I can hope and pray for.” Foster has already been on the phone talking with teams telling them himself.
Foster is making the right move by attacking this head first, but it will still be up to the NFL franchises in need of a linebacker to determine if he is now considered to be too risky of a pick to take early on. Will they trust that Foster, who will begin his NFL career in the NFL’s drug program, will stay out of this kind of trouble in the future?
Considering how talented Foster is, the answer is yes, somebody is going to grab him and he may not have to wait too long. Just look at how the 2016 NFL Draft played out for Laremy Tunsil. A video of Tunsil smoking a bong was leaked online shortly before the NFL Draft. He may not have gone with the top pick, as some had suspected might happen, but he still managed to go No. 13 overall.
Maybe this hurts Foster’s stock to some degree, but it likely won’t be one that costs him too much money in the long run, so long as he stays clean moving forward.