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Justin Foster Opts for Return to Football, Clemson

Clemson defensive end Justin Foster received a more optimistic prognosis from a doctor recently that changed his mind about playing football, even though he's still not 100 percent.

Justin Foster walked away from football at the end of the 2020 season because of medical reasons, but the Clemson defensive end recently had a doctor's visit that changed his mind.

Foster announced Wednesday that he's returning both to the game and to Clemson to finish out his playing career. 

"For me, the decision came when I went to Duke a couple weeks ago and the doctor was positive on me recovering in the near future,” Foster said in a statement released by the university. “In the next month or two, she thought I’d recover enough to compete at the college level, and she motivated me and said that if I wanted to play again, she’d encourage me to and support me and she would do the best she could to get me back healthy. She believed that I will be healthy and, for me, that was a big stepping stone.”

Foster has had complications related to asthma and COVID-19 since before the 2020 season began. He was unable to suit up and play at all last fall, and on Feb. 24 announced he was done

"I’m not fully recovered but I’m recovered enough where I can work out, push myself and compete," Foster said. "I will have my highs and lows each day but I’m battling and feel I’m able to compete and come back."

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Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney received a call earlier this week from Foster, a senior, that he wanted to return. 

"I’m really excited," Swinney said. "I got a call the other day from Justin Foster, and he’s feeling a lot better and back training and has decided that upon further review he really wants to come back and play again. I’m just really, really excited because I know he wasn’t in a good place mentally in January. I tried to talk him out of [moving on] then, but I did tell him, ‘Hey, if something changes, the door is open for you,’ and things have changed. He’s feeling a lot better. Like I said, he’s back training, and I think being away has really rekindled that fire for him."

Foster was a force in 2019, his first season as a starter. He recorded 41 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks while earning All-ACC honorable mention. For his career, Foster has produced 66 tackles, 17.5 for a loss and seven sacks in 39 games. 

His return gives an already loaded defensive front that features Myles Murphy, K.J. Henry and Xavier Thomas even more depth, and any extra production from Foster will be a welcomed bonus.

“It’s not often you get a call from a great player that you think is gone and he says he’s coming back, so just a great thing," Swinney said. "{First of all, just really excited for Justin that he is feeling better with his health and his ability to train like he wants to train. And it’s great for Clemson because that gives us seven guys that have started back on our defensive line — five guys that have started at D-end and two that have started at D-tackle. He’s a great leader with great experience and a really talented football player.”

Updated:
Original:

Justin Foster Opts for Return to Football, Clemson

Clemson defensive end Justin Foster received a more optimistic prognosis from a doctor recently that changed his mind about playing football, even though he's still not 100 percent.

Justin Foster walked away from football at the end of the 2020 season because of medical reasons, but the Clemson defensive end recently had a doctor's visit that changed his mind.

Foster announced Wednesday that he's returning both to the game and to Clemson to finish out his playing career. 

"For me, the decision came when I went to Duke a couple weeks ago and the doctor was positive on me recovering in the near future,” Foster said in a statement released by the university. “In the next month or two, she thought I’d recover enough to compete at the college level, and she motivated me and said that if I wanted to play again, she’d encourage me to and support me and she would do the best she could to get me back healthy. She believed that I will be healthy and, for me, that was a big stepping stone.”

Foster has had complications related to asthma and COVID-19 since before the 2020 season began. He was unable to suit up and play at all last fall, and on Feb. 24 announced he was done

"I’m not fully recovered but I’m recovered enough where I can work out, push myself and compete," Foster said. "I will have my highs and lows each day but I’m battling and feel I’m able to compete and come back."

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney received a call earlier this week from Foster, a senior, that he wanted to return. 

"I’m really excited," Swinney said. "I got a call the other day from Justin Foster, and he’s feeling a lot better and back training and has decided that upon further review he really wants to come back and play again. I’m just really, really excited because I know he wasn’t in a good place mentally in January. I tried to talk him out of [moving on] then, but I did tell him, ‘Hey, if something changes, the door is open for you,’ and things have changed. He’s feeling a lot better. Like I said, he’s back training, and I think being away has really rekindled that fire for him."

Foster was a force in 2019, his first season as a starter. He recorded 41 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks while earning All-ACC honorable mention. For his career, Foster has produced 66 tackles, 17.5 for a loss and seven sacks in 39 games. 

His return gives an already loaded defensive front that features Myles Murphy, K.J. Henry and Xavier Thomas even more depth, and any extra production from Foster will be a welcomed bonus.

“It’s not often you get a call from a great player that you think is gone and he says he’s coming back, so just a great thing," Swinney said. "{First of all, just really excited for Justin that he is feeling better with his health and his ability to train like he wants to train. And it’s great for Clemson because that gives us seven guys that have started back on our defensive line — five guys that have started at D-end and two that have started at D-tackle. He’s a great leader with great experience and a really talented football player.”