The past two seasons haven’t been all rosy for Robert Foster. Some questions about the past still make him recoil.
For instance: Was Foster close to leaving the Alabama football program after last season?
“I’d rather not speak on that right now, because I’m here,” he said. “I’m happy now. So I can’t speak to being close to leaving, because I’m here. I’m happy. I’m blessed to have another opportunity.”
Foster does have one more opportunity, now in his redshirt senior season for the Crimson Tide. There’s playing time available, with ArDarius Stewart and Gehrig Dieter both departed. Junior Calvin Ridley is part of the foundation of Alabama’s offense, but Foster has the chance to become another weapon on the outside.
Foster filled that role once, briefly in 2015. He had 10 catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns through less than two-and-a-half games to lead the team. Then a shoulder injury against Ole Miss ended his season.
Then he posted just five catches for 45 yards last year. Foster didn’t have a catch in Alabama’s final 10 games, and didn’t get on the field in three of the final four games.
“I truly believe there were ups and downs (in the last two years), but I’ve learned from everything,” Foster said. “I’ve learned that regardless of what it is in your life, regardless of what circumstances you’re dealing with, things may not come at the time that you want it to come. It’s probably a humbling experience for some people. It’s probably a selfish feeling for some people. I sink it in. I take full advantage of the opportunity I have now and what’s best for me now.”
Foster doesn’t just have his own experience, but can look at what some of his former teammates have done as well. Wide receiver Chris Black graduated and played his final season at Missouri last year. Daylon Charlot left for Kansas and will be eligible this season. T.J. Simmons will sit this season out at West Virginia.
He chose a different path than them. He’s still at Alabama. He’s already graduated. He says he’s happy.
“I have an opportunity,” he said. “That’s really the reason I’m happy. I have an opportunity from my teammates, as well as my coaches. It’s my job to stick to that responsibility that they expect me to accomplish.”
Coaches have liked what they’ve seen of Foster so far in fall camp. He is often at the head of one line of receivers in drills along with Ridley. That doesn’t mean he’s won a starting job, but he is in position to have an opportunity as the season draws nearer.
“Everybody is working hard out there to try and create a role for themselves, and certainly Robert has done that,” head coach Nick Saban said. “I’ve liked his attitude. Robert is a fast guy who’s very explosive. I think there are certain things that he could do really well for us. I know Brian will use him the best way that he can to feature some of those abilities and talents. Robert’s consistency in performance is going to be the key to the drill and that’s something he’s working hard on, we’re working hard on with him. He’s done a really good job so far.”
Foster is happy with that opportunity. He knows what could make him happy come December as well.
“Because I’ve done everything I could possibly do to help my team,” Foster said. “I’ve done everything I could possibly do to help myself and the coaches as well.”