Like many teams in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers aren't the best at hiding their interests. Each year prior to the NFL draft, we can track their visits and get a great feel for the players they are targeting. Now Pittsburgh could be in line to sign a player that Mike Tomlin and his staff were infatuated with during the 2017 pre-draft process.
Reuben Foster is a former first-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers the end a current linebacker in the USFL. The Pittsburgh Maulers star wouldn't have to venture far to visit the Steelers. The Maulers fell just short of a championship title, but Foster was a key player on their defense. He recorded 52 tackles in eight games played in 2023, per USFL stats.
Recently, the NFL Rumors account on Twitter hinted that the Steelers are interested in signing Foster. While this could be complete speculation, the reasoning makes sense.
Is Reuben Foster to the Steelers realistic?
Back in 2017, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected TJ Watt with a 30th overall pick. Just one pick later, Reuben Foster was taken by the San Francisco 49ers. Character concerns caused the former Alabama star to slip in the draft.
Foster showed tremendous promise as a rookie for the 49ers in 2017. in only 10 games played, the young linebacker managed 72 tackles the end seven tackles for a loss en route to being third in defensive Rookie of the Year voting, according to ESPN stats.
However, injuries in suspensions plagued Foster early in his NFL career. In 2018, he was suspended for two games for weapon and drug offenses. Foster was also involved in a domestic violence incident. The baggage became too much for NFL teams to handle and he played his last snaps in the league halfway through his second season.
Now, five years later, Foster is looking to live up to his potential and make a comeback in the NFL. Considering his history in the fact that he is now 29 years old, a team could no doubt sign Foster on a one-year prove-it deal at a minimal cost. The question is whether or not a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers would want to mess with a player who has a troubled past.
Mike Tomlin and the Steelers clearly had interest in Foster back in 2017 when he entered the NFL, but at this stage in his career, it's hard to say whether or not they would be willing to take a chance on him. Though Pittsburgh did revamp their linebacking corps during the 2023 offseason, there is no guarantee that their current group comprised of players like Cole Holcomb, Elandon Roberts, and Mark Robinson is going to be an improvement over last year.
If Reuben Foster were to be given a chance to prove himself on the team this summer, there is a real chance that he could carve out a role on the Steelers roster in 2023. However, it's going to come down to whether or not Tomlin is okay with taking a chance on his character.