Doug Williams said he knew there would be scrutiny over the decision, but also said "this is small potatoes [compared to] a lot of things out there" across the country.

By Charlotte Carroll
November 29, 2018

Redskins senior vice president of player personnel Doug Williams said Thursday the franchise's front office was united in claiming linebacker Reuben Foster off waivers.

It was the first time Williams spoke publicly about the team's decision. Foster was released by the 49ers on Sunday after he was arrested Saturday night on a domestic violence charge. 

Williams told Doc Walker during his weekly appearance on The Team 980 that he and the team expected criticism after picking up Foster, who has been arrested three times this year. The NFL announced Tuesday evening it was placing Foster on the Commissioner Exempt list and would continue to review the matter.

"We knew there was going to be some backlash, and we understand that, and rightfully so,” Williams said, according to The Washington Post. "I’ve got six daughters, so it ain’t something I would condone, but at the same time I think we are in the business of at least looking into [his case]. I could sit here, and I won’t, name a bunch of teams that took on players that got a lot of baggage that nobody’s saying anything about. You can’t get into nitpicking what they do and what you do. You gotta look at it from your standpoint. There was a lot of thought that went into it. It wasn’t just a spur of the moment type of thing. We all gathered, we talked about it, we knew there was going to be some risk-reward involved in it."

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In a statement released Tuesday, Williams said that the team decided to claim Foster after having "candid conversations" with some of his "ex-Alabama teammates and current Redskins players who were overwhelmingly supportive of us taking this chance." 

Earlier reports indicated Washington's front office was "far from unanimous" over the idea to claim Foster, and The Washington Post reported team president Bruce Allen "masterminded the decision."

Williams said when he read the Post's report, he was trying to figure out who "wasn't united." But he said that "nobody that was in my room was thumbs down." He also admitted the team didn't talk to all of Foster's ex-Alabama teammates. 

Williams was asked Thursday whether he expected such scrutiny over Foster, despite the fact that he won't play right away. 

"Oh yeah, we knew that was going to happen, and like I said, rightfully so with all the stuff that is going on in this country," Williams said. “We’ve got people who are in high, high, high, high places that have done far worse, and if you look at it realistically, they’re still up there. This is small potatoes [compared to] a lot of things out there. 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."

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