Interview: Washington Football LB Reuben Foster

ASHBURN, VA -- August 14, 2020, Washington Football Team linebacker Reuben Foster speaks to the media.

On getting back on the field:

“It’s kind of nerve wracking, but I’m just happy to be back on the field with the guys. Blood, sweat and tears and just really playing football again.”

On if he worried his injury was career-ending:

“It still goes through my mind, but I always try to keep a positive mindset and a great direction of focus on what’s ahead of me and in front of me, too. I really don’t try to worry about that. Just know the fight, always fight and keep pushing. That’s all I really can do.”

On his desire to play in Washington after his injury:

“Everything I’ve been through in trying to get back on the field, I just wanted to play football again, something I grew up loving. Something as a little kid – peewee, high school, middle school, all that type of stuff. It’s heartfelt when the field is not an option. Me just explaining myself, it wasn’t enough. But me showing, that was enough. I had to show instead of just saying. My passion speaks for itself on the field, my game play. I just have to show it.”

On playing with some of his old teammates from Alabama:

“They help to keep my sanity. The guys they just help me laugh it through, play it through, keep my focus. [They are] really down to earth, genuine guys – [DE] Ryan [Anderson] and all of them. I can’t name all the players, but just all my guys really. All of my guys, like all of my guys. Even the Washington Football Team. They did a great job of taking the extra precaution with the process and all of that and doing what they needed to do. Once they did that, they just upped me more full on and I really thank them for that.”

On what he focused on his first day returning to practice:

“I was focusing on my leg and focusing on my first day of practice, really. I was happy, I was happy about it. I was focused on my leg and I was like, ‘Dang, am I the same again? Will I ever be the same? Will I ever be that type of caliber guy?’ I’m not going to take it to the point where I’m going to stop my playing, my play style. I’ve just got to get confidence out there.”

On working with the new training staff:

“Both of the training staffs are great, are phenomenal. Of course we’ve got a new training staff, of course, but just working with them I know tricks from both ends. Just working with them, showing them hard work and they’re showing me hard work and dedication and just getting me back on the field.”

On what he learned going through past legal implications:

“I learned a lot. Right now, I’m not even worrying about all of that. It’s in the rear view and I’m going to keep it in the rear view. I’m looking toward the future and try to look onto the bigger things and try to get back onto the field.”

On making healthy changes in his life:

“I learned how to cook and cook healthier for myself, so that’s a plus. Just being myself and staying focused. Just keeping down that road and keeping blinders on and just staying focused.”

On his reputation after leaving San Francisco:

“To know Reuben is to love Reuben, that’s all I have to say. I love myself and I always keep myself happy. That’s all I have to say for that question.”

On being a leader in the locker room:

“I’m kind of rusty right now, as far as trying to be that part and putting myself in everybody’s shoes and trying to be that leader. I’m trying to be vulnerable, I’m trying to be humble and have everybody be that big dog over me, be that leader over me because I’m a person that will listen. I’m a person that will welcome you with open arms.”

On where he can be most effective in this defense:

“I need to work more on certain things that I don’t want to talk about right now because I don’t want opponents to use it against me. But, I’m still a thumper. I’m still a hard hitter. I’ve just got to be confident in my play style and in my plays and everything will come.”

On what he needs to improve on physically:

“Confidence. I won’t be able to do [anything] without confidence. I promise I won’t.”

On being back on the field:

“It’s weird. Of course, I haven’t been in the game for two years. Of course it’s going to be weird. But, I’m always up for a challenge. I’m up for any challenge, any and every challenge. When it comes to football, I’m not taking baby steps. I’m taking big steps when it comes to football. It was weird coming into it.”

On his relationship with Head Coach Ron Rivera:

“I trust him a lot. He’s got my trust and he’s got my dedication. I think he’s a really stand-up guy, a trustworthy guy. A real hard-nose guy, he doesn’t play the game with favoritism. He doesn’t show that, but I like that about him. I’m a guy who’s here to work and loves to work and plays football, and he’s a kind of guy that loves to play football. And he was a linebacker back in the day, so that gives us a connection there, too.”

On Senior Director of Player Development Malcolm Blacken supporting him:

“Blacken took me under his wing. He showed me the way. He showed me stuff I was lacking and helped guide me on certain paths, I wouldn’t say a certain religion. He gave me certain things that I should recommend and I found my way toward with the help of Blacken. Blacken just gives me advice 24/7. As far as [Senior Vice President of Player Development] Doug [Williams] they really [did]. I really appreciate Blacken and everything he did for me.”

On adjusting to advice from the staff:

“It’s taken me some time to learn and get to it. It’s not going to take me a long time to get it. I’m going to be persistent in trying to get it down. I’ve been down for two years, and it’s kind of hard. I’m not saying it’s easy. I only know the pain. Certain people know what I’m going through, too, with the injury. I know I just have to keep going forward and keep pushing.”

On what he has been working toward:

“Just been working hard to get back on the field. Character-wise, just putting my character out there, displaying my character, my personality. Just staying focused and staying sane. That’s it.”

On what allowed him to stay focus throughout the process:

“I don’t really know, but if I have to stay on my own perspective, it’s just going back to what I’m like. I’m comfortable but I’m uncomfortable in that environment. I’m not trying to go back to that. My focus is just so powerful right now. I’m not trying to fall back. I’m trying to step forward. It’s scary when you go back and you see everything going down. It’s scary, really scary.”

On what he has been cooking:

“I’ve been cooking a little salmon, a little rack of ribs, a little rack of lamb. If you want some swordfish, we can get some swordfish in there too if you want it. I’ve been doing a little bit of everything – baking fish, frying fish, baking swordfish. I probably do swordfish about five times throughout the week, and then one day out of the week I probably do a set of meat.”

On if he appreciates the game of football more after his injury:

“I’ve grown a lot, just being humble, vulnerable, understanding for a lot of things of life, real understanding of life. It’s stuff I can’t really explain. I really can’t explain. It’s hard to explain – not saying I can’t explain, it’s just hard to explain. My drive to get back on the field was just insane. I appreciate the game no matter what. I loved the game from the jump. I just know better from the game about healing properly and all of that. Now I see. I know now that I went through this injury and all that, I know I love this game. I’m crazy for this game. I feel like God put me right here and dropped me like this and said, ‘Here’s the football child.’ I love this game. I’ll never take it for granted for a minute.”

On when he will know he’s back to normal:

“I’d say it’s not me as a one-man army, but we’ve got 11 guys then 11 guys after that as backups that are going to come knock some stuff loose. It’s just like, we’re all going to buy in, play our part and form our own end, we’ve got this. Even with me, a bad wheel (laughs), we’ve got this. I promise you. If you just buy in, we’ve got this. I promise you.”

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