Since releasing a statement Tuesday to announce the signing of troubled linebacker Reuben Foster, the Washington Redskins' front office had remained silent.
Two days later, team vice president Doug Williams discussed the Foster decision in his weekly appearance on a Washington-area radio station.
Williams told host Rick "Doc" Walker on The Team 980 that team officials were aware of the criticism they would face for adding a player who had been arrested three times this season. Foster was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list Tuesday after being arrested on a domestic battery charge over the weekend, prompting the San Francisco 49ers to cut ties with their first-round pick in the 2017 draft.
Williams said the move didn't make the Redskins unique and that the situation was "small potatoes."
“We’ve got people who are in high, high, high, high places that have done far worse, and if you look at it realistically, and they’re still up there. This is small potatoes [compared] to a lot of things out there," he told the radio show.
"But at the same time, it’s a big issue in America today, whether or not it’s in football, whether or not it’s in everyday life, whether or not it’s in politics, it’s out there.”
Williams also disputed a Washington Post report that the front office was not unanimous in its support for claiming Foster.
"Nobody that was in my room was thumbs down," he said.
In the statement Williams issued after the signing, he said the team had "candid conversations with a number of ex-Alabama teammates and current Redskins players who were overwhelmingly supportive of us taking this chance" on Foster. But after several former Crimson Tide players said they weren't consulted, Williams revealed Thursday he talked to only two of the five Alabama alums on the roster.
"It wasn’t like we gotta talk to all five," he told the radio station. "The two that we did talk to know him very well. Not that that makes the decision on whether we make the move or not; we’re just trying to get some insight into the young man.”
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Foster is scheduled to be arraigned on Jan. 3 in Tampa. USA TODAY Sports reported Tuesday that Philadelphia – the Redskins’ opponent on Monday night – was the only team to contact Tampa police about the arrest. Foster won’t be eligible to play until the NFL makes a final disciplinary decision in his case.
“Hopefully, things are not as bad as it’s been reported," Williams said. "Like I said, everything’s got an investigation. We gotta just wait and see where the shoe falls.”
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