San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster was charged with multiple domestic violence and weapons counts Thursday in connection to his February arrest, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office announced.
Foster is facing three felonies stemming from an alleged attack on his girlfriend -- domestic violence with an allegation that he inflicted great bodily harm; forcefully attempting to prevent a victim from reporting a crime; and possession of an assault weapon.
Foster, who was arraigned Thursday, faces the possibility of more than 11 years in prison if convicted on all charges. He's expected to enter a plea at his next court date on April 30. New 49ers teammate Richard Sherman was among those who attended Thursday's hearing in San Jose, California.
"The 49ers organization is aware of today's disturbing charges regarding Reuben Foster," the team said in a statement. "We will continue to follow this serious matter. Reuben is aware that his place in our organization is under great scrutiny and will depend on what is learned through the legal process."
Foster, 24, was arrested by police on Feb. 11 after he allegedly attacked his girlfriend at their Los Gatos, California, home. The victim told police Foster dragged her by her hair, physically threw her out of the house and punched her in the head eight to 10 times. She was treated at a hospital for multiple injuries, including a ruptured eardrum, prosecutors said.
Upon searching the residence, police found a weapon -- a Sig Sauer 516 -- and a high-capacity magazine; both are illegal to possess in California.
"Our focus is on holding accountable those who hurt their intimate partners," Santa Clara Deputy District Attorney Kevin Smith said in a statement. "Our office handles between four and five thousand domestic violence cases each year. We only hope that this case illuminates the tragic regularity of the rest."
In addition to the criminal charges, Foster is subject to potential NFL discipline under the league's personal conduct policy, which mandates a six-game suspension for a first-time domestic violence offense. NFL Network's Jim Trotter reported Thursday the league won't consider putting Foster onto the Reserve/Commissioner Exempt List until it concludes its investigation into the matter.
"We continue to monitor all developments in this matter which is under review of the personal conduct policy," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement.
Widely regarded as a top-10 talent in last year's draft, Foster slid down draft boards because of character and injury concerns. The former Alabama standout was sent home from the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine for arguing with a hospital worker. Foster, who was drafted No. 31 overall by the 49ers, started 10 games as a rookie, tallying 72 tackles. San Francisco's offseason program begins Monday.
Speaking at last month's Annual League Meeting, 49ers owner Jed York said the team was prepared to potentially move on from Foster.
"We'd love Reuben to be on this team," York told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco last month. "And we'd love him to participate for us. But if he's not doing things off the field that allow us to be able to rely on him -- or he's doing something that we're not comfortable with off the field and it's proven that's what's going on -- I think [general manager John Lynch, coach Kyle Shanahan] have said then you're just going to have to move on."