Arizona Cardinals: Off-field antics matter

Reuben Foster Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Reuben Foster Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

The Arizona Cardinals have been linked to linebacker Reuben Foster, who was sent home from the combine

One of the names some draft experts have linked to the Arizona Cardinals with the 13th pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft is linebacker Reuben Foster from the University of Alabama. On Friday, he was sent packing from the NFL Scouting Combine.

Foster reportedly was sent home for yelling at a hospital worker.  We don’t know the extent of what was said and how heated the altercation got.  What it did do though was get the attention of the NFL.  The NFL told him to go home.

Some think it won’t hurt his draft status.  With a talent like Foster’s, it likely won’t hurt much but it may have some teams scratching their heads.

With a team like the Cardinals, we’ve learned perception is everything.  They cut running back Jonathan Dwyer a couple of years ago for domestic violence.  They just cut receiver Michael Floyd in December for a DUI arrest and being unapologetic about it at the time.

Then people will argue the Cardinals weren’t concerned about off-field antics by drafting safety Tyrann Mathieu in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. To me, the Cardinals did their homework on him and had people on the roster who knew him.

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I’m not sure a yelling-incident in a hospital would keep the Cardinals or any other team from drafting Foster.  Hardly.  What it will do though is make teams think longer and harder about the player before doing so.

It also speaks to the NFL’s new zero-tolerance policy for players who are creating off-field distractions and getting into trouble.  Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly and Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon were not even invited to the combine due to off-field incidents.

I’m not about to mix Foster in with Mixon.  No way, so please don’t get me wrong.  The point here is these players are being held to a higher standard than they used to be, fair or not.

Whatever happened at the hospital with Foster, it was serious enough to be sent packing.  That in itself should be reason for pause.  He’ll get drafted and he’ll get paid.  Now we see if any team that needs a linebacker passes on him early.  I sincerely doubt it.