Great news for 49ers linebackers coach Johnny Holland: Rookie first-round pick Reuben Foster has been medically cleared to participate in the first practice of training camp Friday.
For much of the offseason program, Holland had the task of reigning in the ultra-enthusiastic inside linebacker who underwent shoulder surgery before the combine in February.
Foster wasn’t cleared for contact until he was examined at Stanford Hospital on Wednesday. Still, Foster routinely attempted to defy the instructions of the medical staff during the spring.
“Drills, everything, he wanted to sneak in and get in,” Holland said, smiling. “He wanted to get in seven-on-seven (drills). I finally had to tell him: “Reuben if you sneak in a drill and get hurt, they’ll probably run me out of here.’”
Instead, Holland kept his job, and Foster figures to battle Malcolm Smith for the starting job alongside NaVorro Bowman this summer.
General manager John Lynch said Foster possesses an “infectious enthusiasm.”
“He’s an Alpha dog,” Lynch said. “He wants to lead. He’s ready. He’s eager. And we’re certainly excited to watch him play.”
Foster was viewed as a top-10 talent, but he slid to No. 31 partly because of concerns about his surgically repaired shoulder. Multiple national reports after the draft said some teams thought Foster would require a second procedure that could wipe out his rookie season.
“We pride ourselves in doing our due diligence not afterwards, but before we make decisions,” Lynch said. “And we had done exhaustive research on Reuben Foster in a lot of different areas, medically was one area. We feel great about our doctors and our medical program.”