San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch says the team will be transparent in how it handles Reuben Foster's situation in the wake of his arrest on domestic violence and weapon charges earlier this month.
"We've made it a part of our core principles, our core values, that we're going to be transparent," Lynch said while speaking to reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Wednesday. "We feel like the fans deserve to know. We want them to know. With this, we've been a little quiet. And that's for a reason. There are certain places I can't and won't go because we're dealing with an ongoing legal matter. That's in everyone's best interest.
"One thing I'd like to say is that we're actively following the protocols that are already in place, both in law enforcement and the NFL."
Lynch also disputed the notion the team is treating Foster's arrest differently than it did when defensive back Tramaine Brock was arrested last April on suspicion of domestic violence. Brock was released one day after his arrest; Foster remains on the 49ers' roster.
"Listen, I know there's a lot of conjecture as to, 'Well, of course Brock wasn't the player that Reuben is.'" Lynch said, per Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee. "I would counter to say that he was a starting cornerback for us. And we didn't take that lightly.
"I think anybody who watched us play -- I don't want to say it was a weakness -- but an area of concern for us was the cornerback position," Lynch continued. "And that had a large part to do with it. It wasn't something we took lightly. It was the decision that we felt was best for everyone involved and made it accordingly. And as I mentioned, each situation is different and we'll leave it at that."
Foster was arrested by Los Gatos Monte Sereno Police in California on Feb. 11. After making contact with Foster and the victim, police took Foster into custody without incident after their initial investigation.
The incident remains under investigation and Foster has not been formally charged by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.
It marked Foster's second arrest this year. The 31st overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft was arrested on Jan. 13 in Alabama on a possession of marijuana charge and was later released after posting bond.
Widely regarded as a top-10 talent in last spring's draft, Foster slid down draft boards because of character and injury concerns. The linebacker was sent home from the combine last March for arguing with a hospital worker. Foster started 10 games for the 49ers this past season, tallying 72 tackles.
Lynch confirmed that the 49ers met with Foster a day after his latest arrest.
"We have talked with Reuben," Lynch said. "The context, in a broad sense, is our expectations for him and our expectations for all of our players. We have a high standard that we expect. I think we made that very clear with him. We remain in communication but a lot of that is going to remain private because of the ongoing legal matters and protocols that are in place."
Regardless of whether or not he is charged, Foster faces the possibility of discipline from the NFL. The league's personal conduct policy mandates a six-game suspension if the NFL determines a domestic violence violation occurred. The NFL suspended Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott six games last summer even though he was never charged after being accused of domestic violence by his former girlfriend.
Lynch understands that Foster's situation adds a layer of uncertainty to the roster since there's a chance the linebacker could be suspended next season.
"You have to take those things into account on every situation," Lynch said. "Everything in this league is fluid, so you have to be able to move quickly and kind of adjust philosophies. Yeah, that will be something that we have to take into account, whether it's in free agency, re-signing our own guys or whether it be in the draft. That's certainly something we're aware of and are taking into account."