Browns Planning to Bring in Former First-Round Linebacker

Getty Images Former 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster poses with Adrian Peterson.

The Cleveland Browns are planning to bring in former first-round pick Reuben Foster for a workout this week.

ESPN’s Kimberley A. Martin reported the Browns interest in Foster, who has not played an NFL game since 2018.

Foster is a former Alabama standout and started all 16 games he played in with the San Francisco 49ers. He’s totaled more than 100 tackles during his short stint in the NFL but has been plagued by off-field troubles, which is part of the reason he hasn’t caught on with a team. During the 2018 season, he was suspended two games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy and then was released following an arrest for suspicion of domestic violence.

Foster signed with the Washington Football Team shortly after he was let go by San Francisco, but his time was short-lived due to a torn ACL.

The Browns have made it clear that they feel like they have the organizational strength to deal with players who might have been troubled at other stops. Defensive tackle Malik McDowell — who was a first-round pick in 2017 but never played a game in the NFL due to off-field issues — is a great example of how it can turn out when the player buys in.

Foster’s Former Coaches Giving Him a Look

Foster made quite the impression on his former coaches. He worked out for the Jets and his former defensive coordinator Robert Saleh earlier this offseason and is linked to the Browns through linebackers coach Jason Tarver, who was his position coach in San Francisco. He has also worked out for

The Athletic’s Zac Jackson assessed the Browns’ interest in Foster.

Veteran and defensive signal-caller Anthony Walker played 62 snaps, and no other linebacker played more than 25. Given the Browns’ lofty goals, it makes sense that they’d want a gauge on where Foster stands, but it’s still hard to imagine he’d sign with the Browns soon and immediately play any kind of significant role.

Given that Foster hasn’t played since 2018, the Browns are probably just wanting to take a look at where he stands on multiple fronts.

The Browns could simply be looking at Foster to get deeper in case of emergency. Linebacker Mack Wilson landed on the injury report this week with a quad injury, while Jacob Phillips — who was expected to play a significant role on defense — is on IR until at least November with a bicep injury.

Defense Not ‘Grading on Curve’ Against the Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are rarely slowed down and the Browns defense didn’t have many answers in the 33-29 loss, allowing nearly 400 total yards.

Walker said he would not grade the defense’s effort on a curve, considering who was on the other side of the ball.

“At the end of the day, we are all at the NFL level. We have to grade ourselves at that level. We can’t water it down because obviously, you are playing against a MVP-caliber quarterback and a Super Bowl-caliber team,” Walker told reporters on Wednesday. “We want to win. To be the best, you have to beat the best. We had an opportunity, and we did not get it done. That is what we are grading ourselves on. At the end of the day, we did not execute. We had times where we did and times where we did not. The times where we did not came back to beat us at the end.”

The Browns have what should be an easier test against the Texans this week as the look to move to 1-1. Houston’s win total for the season was set at five — the lowest in the NFL. However, they did surprise Jacksonville in Week 1, racking up 449 yards of offense in a 37-21 win.

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