Fully Healthy, Reuben Foster is Already Making Plays for the 49ers

For all of Reuben Foster's collegiate accomplishments, the linebacker never once recorded an interception at Alabama. And yet, he now has two picks through three practices during San Francisco 49ers training camp.

"I guess the ball has a thing for me," Foster joked after practice on Sunday.

In between the takeaways have been several more head-turning plays both in pass coverage and stopping the run. Foster had one play on Sunday where he shot through the line of scrimmage and stopped Raheem Mostert in his tracks for a 3-yard loss.

The linebacker's on-field highlights are an added bonus to the fact that Foster is out on the field at all. Foster's surgically-repaired shoulder scared away a number of NFL teams and was the reason San Francisco nabbed the Crimson Tide alum at such a bargain price.

A consensus top five talent being taken at pick No. 31? That's a recipe for a draft day steal. And while many of the concerns over Foster's medical history may have been somewhat justified, Sunday's practice was a step towards proving his doubters wrong.

Foster was a full participant during the two-hour session in full pads.

"It felt great," Foster said. "It was a thrill to finally put some pads on."

Moreover, Foster added that there is no lingering concern about his infamous shoulder.

"I'm doing great. (The shoulder is) awesome, man," the linebacker said. "(It's) no problem."

Foster never dwelled over the constant rehab and physical therapy. What wore on the linebacker was being sidelined throughout the offseason program.

"I was itching," Foster said. "The coaches and trainers, they knew I was itching. They were watching me 24/7. Sometimes I wanted to sneak out there and do a little drill, but at the same time, I had to do what was best for me."

The reigning Butkus Award Winner remained in the Bay Area for a bulk of his summer break. Foster, who had been on track to return for camp, wasn't going to leave anything to chance.

"I had to get my shoulder stronger. I've built great relationships. Staying here was the best decision so I know how our program works and getting a feel for the Forty Niner way."

Foster primarily played MIKE linebacker at Alabama. As a senior in 2016, he recorded 170 tackles, 13 for loss and five sacks. Now in San Francisco, he'll begin his career at WILL linebacker and compete with Malcolm Smith for the starting job next to NaVorro Bowman.

The 49ers coaching staff has Foster running with the third-team, but it's clear that Foster is acclimating just fine to his new position.

"It was never a worry of ours," Kyle Shanahan said on Friday. "Both of those spots are pretty interchangeable. It's a little bit different when you get them on the line of scrimmage, which is our SAM linebacker.

"But Reuben is a football player. He likes to run and hit. If you heard him in the meetings he understands football very well, and I think he could adjust and play just about anywhere."

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