Most of us were so focused on Ben Ball during March that we probably missed the 49ers signing of DeShaun Foster. Always good to see one of my favorite Bruin RBs to sign up with the pro team I try to keep tabs on (although have to confess this didn't come across my radar until few weekends ago when I checked out the WWL on draft day and found out what the Niners had been up to this off season). Anyway, here is the story from the San Jose Mercury News on DeShaun making his way back to the Golden State:
Foster, 28, a second-round pick out of UCLA in 2002, averaged 53 rushing yards a game during his Carolina Panthers career.
After getting cut two weeks ago, Foster looked around for a starting job but discovered almost every team was set at his position. He said he decided on the 49ers because he considers them a team on the rise.
"They have a lot of young talent on the team, with veteran receivers. I think that the sky is the limit with this offense," said Foster, who is listed at 6-foot, 222 pounds.
New offensive coordinator Mike Martz has a reputation for emphasizing the passing game, but Foster said he expects enough balance to stay busy. He is also a big fan of Gore, who has 572 of the 49ers' 796 rushing attempts - 72 percent - over the past two seasons. When asked what his role would be, Foster responded: "Just basically to get in there and spot Frank."
Foster has at least 800 rushing yards over the past three seasons. He is also responsible for the two longest runs in Panthers' history: a 71-yarder in 2004 and a 70-yarder in '06.
Here’s the bottom line on new Niners RB DeShaun Foster: If featured back Frank Gore should get injured for an extended period of time, the word is that Foster is considered much better-suited to step in and become the starter than Gore’s primary backups last season, Maurice Hicks, who signed with Minnesota, and Michael Robinson, who is more of a spot option. “Foster and Gore are actually very similar in terms of style,” a team insider told PFW. “They’re both good receivers out of the backfield.” With Gore being bothered by a nagging ankle injury much of last season, there are many who have speculated that Foster, who spent the previous six seasons in Carolina and displayed some pretty impressive flashes on occasion, could cut into Gore’s playing time pretty significantly. But team sources tell us that the Niners still are planning on Gore to get at least 15-20 carries per game and about 5-10 catches out of the backfield. What would that leave Foster? We’re hearing maybe 10 touches per game — if he’s lucky.
Considering the situation Foster is arriving into, I think this is a fantastic signing. While I'm disappointed Thomas Clayton won't get more of a shot at real playing time (I think), this solidifies the running game for the next couple of seasons. Michael Robinson is the long term answer backing up Frank Gore, but DeShaun Foster will be a nice option when Gore needs a breather. In the past, defenses were probably a little bit happier to see Maurice Hicks or Michael Robinson on the field. Now they'll see a guy with a ton of talent and something to prove.
Hopefully it will work out for both the Fosters and the Niners. As for remembering Foster as a Bruin, this should help:
Only if Dean, Bell, Carter, Ramirez or other backs can replicate just some of that on December 6.
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