On Friday evening, Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster left the NFL Combine after a “heated” argument with a hospital worker, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.
Bama's Reuben Foster, a potential top-10 pick, is being sent home from combine for heated argument with a hospital worker, sources tell ESPN— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 4, 2017
All one NFL spokesman would say was that Reuben Foster was being sent home for "personal reasons" and did not want to comment any further.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 4, 2017
A couple days after the incident, The NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones reported that Foster’s agent sent a letter to all 32 NFL teams to apologize. Jones also reported that Foster will make himself available to NFL coaches and scouts for three hours on Tuesday to explain what happened. Below is the letter Foster’s agent sent.
As you know, a decision was made by the NFL to send Reuben Foster home early from the Combine because of an incident that occurred at the hospital in Indianapolis on Friday, March 3. As a result of that decision, Reuben missed interviews that had been scheduled with 16 teams.
Reuben emailed each of those 16 teams to apologize for missing his scheduled interview with them, and to inform them that he will be available to answer any questions they may have about what happened at the hospital on Tuesday evening between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm in the Linebacker meeting room at the University of Alabama football offices.
We are sending this email out to all teams to make sure that everyone is aware of Reuben's availability on Tuesday evening to discuss the incident, as well as any other questions you may have for him.
Here’s some further detail from Friday regarding the situation, from Sports Illustrated’s Robert Klemko:
Foster grew impatient with long line for exams... pulled the 'do you know who I am?' card.— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) March 4, 2017
According to Klemko, the hospital worker told Foster he’d need to wait in line like everybody else, at which point their “heated” exchange happened.
Foster warned the man that he'd put hands on him, and the employee said, simply, Do it.— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) March 4, 2017
Here’s Foster’s side of the story, from AL.com via an Instagram broadcast:
"Talk to Tim (Williams)," Foster said, referencing his Alabama teammate who would have been in the same group for medical evaluations. "Talk to Ryan (Anderson). Talk to Dalvin (Tomlinson). Them boys know. They were there."
Between 250 and 375 viewers were watching Foster's live video at any given time. It lasted more than 30 minutes.
"I'm chilling with my people right now," Foster said. "My agent backs me. I'm staying low. When I get my chance, I'm taking advantage of it. I'm telling you. That's all I know."
Tomlinson said he was “pretty shocked” about the altercation, telling reporters Saturday that it was out of character for his former teammate. Allen said the news that Foster had been sent home was “disappointing.” Anderson said he witnessed the incident, and said it was “blown out of proportion.”
Foster, an inside linebacker, should be among the first backers off the board in late April’s draft. He had a strong four-season career at Alabama, which included a national title in the 2015 season and significant growth from year to year.
Foster’s tackles for a loss went from two to eight to 13 over the last three years, and he became a leader of Alabama’s nation-best defense.
ESPN’s Adam Caplan reported last month that Foster had surgery to repair his right rotator cuff and wouldn’t be participating in the Combine.
Foster, the top graded inside linebacker for many teams, will not be able to participate in drills during next month's NFL Combine.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) February 13, 2017
But even when prospects aren’t participating in drills or workouts at the Combine, it’s a valuable chance for them to meet representatives from the league’s 32 teams. Teams also get to gather medical data and measurements on the players before they’re put in a position to draft them and spend millions of dollars on them.
It’s a significant networking event, including lots of interviews and a couple of media obligations, too.
Foster will be the latest in a long line of dominant Bama linebackers under Nick Saban to go early in the draft, and one of several Bama defenders to be drafted this year. C.J. Mosley, Dont’a Hightower, Courtney Upshaw, and Rolando McClain are among the Tide’s backers to go early in the draft since 2010.
Foster was a five-star recruit in the class of 2013. He’s the subject of one of the most entertaining and impressive recruiting highlight videos in recent college football history, which shows him bringing extreme pain to high school kids for about five-and-a-half minutes.