On a sunny October afternoon in Miami, in the waning moments of a blowout loss to the Dolphins, Texans running back Arian Foster was split out into the slot in an empty backfield formation. The ball was snapped, Foster took one step forward and in an instant he crumbled to the ground, his Achilles tendon shredded and his football future clearly changed in some tangible way.
The Texans made it through the rest of the season without Foster, cobbling together occasional stellar running efforts behind a hodgepodge backfield of Alfred Blue, Jonathan Grimes and Chris Polk. In automotive terms, the Texans went from a BMW to a used Ford Escort, to where getting from point A to point B became far less aesthetically pleasing and much more worrisome. Eventually, the Texans' season ended with a thud, with the future of the backfield murky at best, given Foster's uncertain future.
Foster has been off the grid for a few months now, with occasional tweets or mentions from his trainer/brother Abdul showing off his work. Work has never been a problem for Foster. It's been one of the reasons his head coach, Bill O'Brien, loves him so much as a player and teammate. According to Bill O'Brien, Foster's been in the building frequently since the injury, working hard to make his return to the field:
“He’s been in our building quite a bit working hard to get back,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “He’s a really good guy, good teammate, missed being out there; obviously he wanted to be out there helping us. He’s been a great player for the Houston Texans. He’s working hard to get back.”
Well, if you're wondering where exactly Foster stands health-wise, he gave us the update via Twitter and Instagram on Tuesday morning....
cleared to jog— Feeno (@ArianFoster) February 2, 2016
back against the wall once again. I live for shit like this!!!! fuck "they",… https://t.co/LzBYW1cVxL
And here is the update on what Foster can and can't do, straight from his doctor.....
So the question now becomes "What do the Texans do with Arian Foster?" There have been numerous reports that their plan is to release him when they can contractually do so. A more prudent approach might be to see if there is middle ground that can be had on Foster's nearly $9 million cap hit for 2016. Healthy, he is clearly still a premiere back, but this injury yields a long and arduous rehab process, one that might not sync up properly with the Texans' offseason decision-making.
If that's the case, and the Arian Foster era indeed ends, then a Super Bowl contender with an elite quarterback could be picking up a marquee talent to add to its array of weapons, with New England a possible great fit. Or perhaps the Dallas Cowboys, looking to re-establish themselves while hitting their cross-state brethren across the bow, could look at putting Foster behind that big offensive line.
Whatever the car, it appears that the first step of Arian Foster's reconstruction is under way.
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