The 49ers released Reuben Foster hours before Sunday's game against the Buccaneers, after he was arrested the night before on one count of first-degree misdemeanor domestic-violence battery. By Tuesday afternoon, Foster had a new home with the Redskins, who claimed him on waivers.
"Today we have claimed the rights to LB Reuben Foster," senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams said in a statement. "The Redskins fully understand the severity of the recent allegations made against Reuben. If true, you can be sure these allegations are nothing our organization would ever condone.
"Let me be clear, Reuben will have to go through numerous steps including the full legal process, an investigation and potential discipline from the NFL, as well as meetings with counselors associated with the team before he will ever have the opportunity to wear the Burgundy and Gold as a player. That being said, we decided to investigate the situation with Reuben further by claiming his rights after candid conversations with a number of his ex-Alabama teammates and current Redskins players who were overwhelmingly supportive of us taking this chance.
"Nothing is promised to Reuben, but we are hopeful being around so many of his former teammates and friends will eventually provide him with the best possible environment to succeed both personally and professionally."
The NFL has placed Foster on its Commissioner Exempt List, according to PFT, which means he can't practice or attend games, but can be at the team's facility for meetings, workouts and and other permitted non-football activities. Players accused of domestic violence are often placed on this list.
Foster's alleged victim was Elissa Ennis, whom the linebacker has at times been in a relationship with over the past three years. In a statement, Tampa police said Foster and Ennis were involved in a verbal altercation Saturday and "Foster slapped her phone out of her hand, pushed her in the chest area, and slapped her with an open hand on the left side of her face. Officers observed a one-inch scratch on the victim's left collarbone."
The 49ers, who drafted Foster with the 31st pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, previously stated that any player who committed domestic violence would no longer have a place on their team.
"We can promise you guys -- if there's someone who ever hits their significant other, girlfriends, some person like that, that person is not going to be on our team," coach Kyle Shanahan said in April. "I feel strongly about that. I know John (Lynch) does. I know our ownership does. That's how we feel about it. Obviously, Reuben is on our team right now, so we're waiting to see how that goes. But if that's something that we felt he did or ended up happening, you guys will see how we feel."
General manager John Lynch said Sunday that he hadn't made judgment about what happened between Foster and Ennis but felt it was in the 49ers' best interest to part ways.
"That doesn't mean we don't love him," Lynch said, via the New York Times. "We all do. We care for him. We feel it's in the best interest of our organization to move on at this point. That's a very tough decision. I want to be clear that this is organizational decision. Kyle and I talked last night. We brought it to ownership and we were all in lock step with the decision. It was not easy on anybody."
Foster played in 17 games over a season and a half, racked up 101 tackles but didn't have a sack, interception or forced fumble.
Washington, meanwhile, has lost two straight and three of its last four to fall out of first place in the NFC East. The defense, which has played well at times, ranks 18th in efficiency (12th against the pass, 26th against the run), according to Football Outsiders' metrics. The team is currently the No. 6 seed in the NFC and has a 38-percent chance to make the postseason.