49ers trade with Seahawks, select ILB Foster No. 31 in 2017 NFL Draft

49ers trade with Seahawks, select ILB Foster No. 31 in 2017 NFL Draft

REUBEN FOSTER
Position: Linebacker
College: Alabama
Height: 6-0
Weight: 229 pounds
Selection: First round, No. 31 overall

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers jumped back into the first round to select Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster.

Foster, a tackling machine who was the winner of the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker, was selected at No. 31 overall after a trade with the Seattle Seahawks.

The 49ers traded the second pick of the second round (No. 34 overall) and a fourth-round pick at No. 111 to move up three spots to select Foster. The 49ers acquired the No. 111 pick earlier in the day in a trade back with the Chicago Bears.

Foster is expected to make an immediate impact for a team that ranked last in the league in total defense. He could line up next to NaVorro Bowman, who returned to the practice field this week during a minicamp after sustaining a torn Achilles early last season.

Foster visited the 49ers’ headquarters last month and made a strong impression.

“He came in, and we had a nice visit with him,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix.

Foster was a unanimous first-team All-American and All-SEC pick. But Foster has been the center of controversy since the end of the season. He was sent home from the NFL scouting combine after allegedly getting into a confrontation with a hospital worker in Indianapolis.

“I think that’s why you do those things,” Lynch said. “You try to gather information, and react and make decisions accordingly. And so that’s why these things are valuable.”

After the 49ers met with Foster, it was revealed he entered into the league’s program on substances of abuse due to a dilute urine sample.

“I’m trying to be the next Patrick Willis, the next great linebacker in the history,” Foster said on a conference call with Bay Area reporters shortly after he was selected.

Foster, who was expected to be a strong candidate to be selected in the top-10 of the draft, said he was surprised he was still be available after 30 picks in the draft.

“I’m just happy they believed in me and trusted in me to pick me and give me a chance,” Foster said. “I got to prove my passion for the sport. I got a chip on my shoulder. I got big things to prove.

“People think about the character off the field, and everything. I got to show them how serious I take my job.”

When asked to describe his game, Foster said, “Savage.”

He added, “If I didn’t have football, I’d have nothing but my family.”

Foster said he is 90-percent recovered from offseason shoulder surgery and he will be ready for the opening of training camp.

Bills sign two former 49ers

Bills sign two former 49ers

The Buffalo Bills have signed two 49ers free agents within the past two days.

After signing wide receiver Rod Streater on Wednesday, the Bills announced the signing of linebacker Gerald Hodges on Thursday.

The 49ers acquired Hodges in a 2015 trade with the Minnesota Vikings for center Nick Easton and a sixth-round draft pick. Hodges started 12 games last season and ranked second on the team with 92 tackles.

Hodges left the 49ers shorthanded for a late-season game against the Atlanta Falcons when he violated team rules. Then-coach Chip Kelly did not disclose the nature of Hodges infraction. Hodges offered no explanation or apology.

The 49ers entered the game against the high-powered Falcons with just two healthy inside linebackers due to Hodges’ deactivation. Starter Nick Bellore sustained an elbow injury on the third play of the game, and the 49ers were forced to use safeties Antoine Bethea and Vinnie Sunseri, and outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks at various points of the game.

The 49ers showed no interest in re-signing Hodges as a free agent.

Streater, a five-year NFL veteran, saw action in all 16 games last season after being acquired in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs in September. He caught 18 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns.

Harbaugh takes blame for 'premature celebration' during 2011 incident

Harbaugh takes blame for 'premature celebration' during 2011 incident

It was Jim Harbaugh's first season as head coach of the 49ers.

The 4-1 49ers were in Detroit and scored 10 points in the final 5:29 to beat the Lions 25-19.

An excited Harbaugh got a little too agressive during his postgame handshake with Lions coach Jim Schwartz. The two had words for each other and had to be separated.

Six years later, Harbaugh took the blame for what happened and said that he and Schwartz have patched things up.

"I went in too hard on that, too aggressive on the handshake. I've since changed that. Not doing that anymore. Can't blame him. I went in too hard. And you respect him for taking exception. We've talked, and we're good. We're back to friends. There is a protocol in a postgame handshake. I've been there as the winner. I've been there as loser. You just, 'Hey, nice game,' then go celebrate. Premature celebration there, in the wrong," Harbaugh said Tuesday on Barstool Sports' Pardon My Take podcast.

Harbaugh sounds like he's learned his lesson from that incident with Schwartz.

"The postgame handshake isn't the place for anything. If you're bitter, than change the I to an E. Don't get bitter, get better. Nothing's really changing at the postgame handshake. Just professionally shake hands and go on your way," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh moved on from the 49ers to coach the Michigan Wolverines. Schwartz coached the Lions through the 2013 season and currently serves as the defensive coordinator for the Eagles.