Inside the Reuben Foster you thought you knew

Football is a man’s game played by boys. Sometimes we forget that the players we cheer for on Saturday are kids. Mere kids. Kids in how they think, how they act, and how they process what’s taking place around them.

Such is the case with Reuben Foster. Has there ever been a player whose recruitment was such a circus? And as we all know, there have been a few to behold around the Tide football program as of late.

But in Foster, you have a kid who just wants to make people happy. A kid at heart, inside a full-grown, superhero’s body.

ESPN’s Alex Scarborough offers us a glimpse at the manchild Reuben Foster in a recent interview, featured on ESPN’s Tide Nation.

You know the story. Recruited early by Kirby Smart, Saban and company at Alabama, committed to the Tide as an early junior, then flipped by Auburn and used as a pawn by a self-interested Auburn thug. Then the tattoo. Then much later, the weekend before signing day, Foster leaves his Auburn visit early, heads to Tuscaloosa, commits to the Tide on Monday night and signs his national letter of intent on signing day.

And we thought the Cyrus Kouandjio saga was crazy.

But taking a deeper look, Reuben Foster was almost helpless in his pursuit to make everybody happy. But the result of a final decision from unhappy fans?

“They told me, ‘I hope you tear your ACL,’ ” Foster said. “It’s crazy how people think and what they’d wish upon you.”

This isn’t the Foster you thought you knew…the #1 rated inside linebacker prospect in the country. A man among boys yet to make a collegiate tackle.

This is another Foster. A kid, trying to process the hate generated from choices like his in this football crazed state.

“As soon as I signed the [letter of intent], it all broke loose,” he said. “I didn’t want to come out of the house. I didn’t want to do anything.”

But rather than telling these hate mongers where they can go and where they can stick their hatred, he offers this:

“I didn’t mean for all this to happen,” he said. “I’m sorry to the Auburn fans, to the Georgia fans who I got their hopes up. I tried to make everyone happy. I hope they forgive me. To the Alabama fans, I’m going to try my best to come in and please all of them.”

The article is worth the read, and should serve as a wake-up call for any fan of any team. These are kids we’re following…some barely old enough to drive. Some without dads in the picture. Some without a firm grasp on anything but a football.

Whether or not Reuben Foster ever lives up to the hype and/or scrutiny bestowed upon him by critics everywhere, I pray this kid gets the foundation needed to take on the brutal, relentless opponent called life, where pleasing everyone is never possible.

We’re rooting for you Reuben. On Saturdays, yes. But even more on Sunday thru Friday. And don’t worry about pleasing us. We now know your story, a story that has humbled us all. You’ve already given us more than you ever will in a uniform.


(Follow ITK on Twitter for Bama news, commentary and smack.)

12 Comments

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  1. 1
    moose

    Amen.
    God bless Reuben.
    We remember all the vileness espoused by the barn nation when TJ Yeldon committed to Bama. Reuben has gone through the same thing. Best thing he can do now is go enjoy his life and be a great success.

    • 2
      vicious

      I guess you forget all the vileness espoused by the bama nation against Reuben after his first switch….

      • 3
        The Conduit

        @Vicious: He who throws the first stone, right?

        I think you missed the point of the article and the interview. Every school has this problem, and no school should. Just because some schools say more and wish worse than others doesn’t make a difference to the young men who have to deal with that kind of abuse.

        Good grief.

        Besides that, Rueben seems like a really good person. When they ask what he’s working on, he immediately says school. When they ask for a comment to Alabama, he immediately apologizes; not just to Alabama, but to Georgia, Auburn, and everyone who doesn’t accept his apology.

        Sounds more like an adult who already spent a few years being coached by everyone at Alabama than a kid who graduates high school this month.

      • 4
        ITK

        Correction vicious: the “vileness” was aimed primarily at the Auburn assistant who used Reuben to advance his cause, not the kid. It was 100% clear Reuben didn’t write his statement, which followed Yeldon’s statement chapter and verse.

        Sorry to interupt your fantasy. I guess being little brother makes you say stupid things.

        • 5
          WhyRTR?

          ITK I understand that your reason for existing is to make AU fans feel absolutely horrible and to paint AU in an extreme negative light, and somewhere in there talk about Alabama football, but you can’t be so naive to think that Bama fans were mad at Trooper Taylor. They were mad because Reuben Foster decommited from You guys….and no one ever does that! Not to UA! How could any one ever decomit from the University of Alabama right? I get it. Bama is GREAT at football. The country sees this, but if you think that Bama can do no wrong you are completely mistaken. Bama fans just like any SEC program are ruthless and mean and cutting when it comes to recruiting. So please spare us the innocent act. Bama fans said some pretty awful things about Reuben when he decomitted….he even posted them on his twitter account. Do just a little investigating before you post. I know it’s exciting to be put into the same category as roopstigo, you know with there incredible “investigative” reporting, but have a little class. This kid will be a heck of a football player no doubt. And I, like you, hope he does get a good foundation for life….because life is more than football, contrary to what many here think. It might not do any of us harm to remember it is just a football game at the end of the day and these kids lives and futures exist far beyond college football/nfl.

          • 6
            ITK

            I agree with you in part, which is why my entire article was written to arrive at the conclusion that life is more than about football, and that these are kids.

            But when you say “Bama fans said…”, you’re talking about a body of millions of people. Can we account for what millions of people say and do? You know the answer to that. But you CAN account for what a coaching staff made up of a few men did, and you’ll have to find some loyal Toomer’s Corner tree huggers to find someone who believes the Foster statement after his de-commitment from Alabama wasn’t staged to fire a shot back at Nick Saban from taking Yeldon. I know Auburn fans are blind, loyal and somewhat stupid, but come on. Even you need to admit that. But that’s hard, so nevermind. It’ll never happen.

          • 7
            LMAO

            So according to you ITK if you comment on what Bama fans say “you’re talking about a body of MILLIONS of people? I guess you have a link or source to support? Didn’t think so.

            I guess that is based on the same ability you have to exaggerate reality that allows you to claim 15 legitimate national championships, and believe it.

      • 8
        LMAO

        Being arch rivals in the same redneck state of Alabama make people from both of your fan bases “say stupid things”, including YOU ITK!

        • 9
          The Conduit

          @LMAO: I think you should come to Alabama. Choose your school. You can learn how to spell and how to write with accurate grammar at any of our wonderful institutions of higher learning. Hell, they even teach those things in grade school, so maybe start there and then aim high.

          As for 15 national championships, I’ve seen five with my own eyes. Is that better? I’ve seen more championships won by Alabama with my own eyes than nearly any school has claimed they won, including the ones I didn’t see. So let’s just stay with five and now you can try to catch up with that.

      • 12
        ITK

        Common sense?
        Dominance?
        Excellence?
        An active frame of mind (and not reactive)?
        3 National Championships in the last four years?
        Nick Saban?
        14 NFL 1st rounders in the last five drafts?
        Kirby Smart?
        36-0?
        42-14?
        49-0?

        This is just off the cuff…I can provide many, many more.

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