Redskins want clarity on Reuben Foster's status as NFL draft nears

Domestic violence charge against Foster dropped (0:58)

Adam Schefter explains that Reuben Foster has been cleared legally of his domestic violence charge, but still awaits ruling from the NFL. (0:58)

PHOENIX -- The Washington Redskins just want to know one way or another. That way they can make plans to move on with or without linebacker Reuben Foster.

The NFL still hasn't said whether it will suspend Foster; a spokesman at the NFL owners meetings said the league is still investigating the situation. On Nov. 24, Foster, then with the San Francisco 49ers, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor domestic violence following an incident the night before a game at Tampa Bay. The 49ers released him the following day and Washington claimed him on waivers two days later.

Foster was placed on the commissioner's exempt list, which barred him from playing in the final five games of the season. However, prosecutors dropped the charges on Jan. 3. Foster remains on the exempt list, which means he can work out at the Redskins' facility but would be unable to participate in offseason activities.

The NFL could still suspend him under its personal conduct policy, even though he's no longer charged with a crime. Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott was suspended for six games in 2017 despite charges being dropped. But Elliott already missed games while authorities investigated the case. Also, an NFL spokesman said there is no timetable for a decision and that an announcement last month of Kareem Hunt's eight-game suspension doesn't affect Foster's case.

Foster had been suspended for the first two games of last season stemming from a misdemeanor gun charge and misdemeanor marijuana charge.

"We don’t have a sense when it will be," Redskins president Bruce Allen said of a decision. "I believe the investigation concluded some time ago. I think it's more decision-making."

Allen said this offseason that he didn't think Foster would be suspended. Numerous members of the organization have wondered why he would get any time, especially after the charges were dropped.

The uncertainty affects Washington's level of need at the position. They cut Zach Brown before free agency, a move that was not simply about freeing up $5.75 million in salary-cap space. They felt Brown was too inconsistent, among other issues. But Brown and Foster also play the same position; neither one is considered a defensive signal-caller.

The Redskins kept Mason Foster around in part because of the uncertainty surrounding Reuben Foster. Mason can play both linebacker spots and could start alongside Reuben if he's cleared -- or next to Shaun Dion Hamilton if he's not.

The Redskins pursued C.J. Mosley in free agency, but he could have paired easily next to Reuben Foster because he can call signals.

"Well, it would have been nice to know [three] weeks ago," Allen said last week at the annual meetings. "Once again, from all our internal investigations -- and I'm assuming the NFL's is similar -- with Florida dropping all charges, that should be good for Reuben."

The Redskins liked Foster before the 2017 draft, with coach Jay Gruden among those lobbying to select him at No. 17. They drafted defensive lineman Jonathan Allen instead. The Redskins felt comfortable claiming Foster in part because of the heavy Alabama influence. Foster is one of seven Redskins who played football at Alabama. He's close friends with Redskins linebacker Ryan Anderson, whose presence increased the Redskins' confidence in claiming Foster.

More than anything, the Redskins just want clarity -- especially with the draft three weeks away.

"It is a little frustrating," Gruden said. "I'm sure it is for him. But we have to let the process play out. We knew that going in, when we claimed him, this could be a long deal. We would like to have some answers soon. ... We'd love to have it before the draft. It's kind of important to know if a 23-year-old linebacker will be on your team or not."