Could veteran defensive lineman return next season?

Could veteran defensive lineman return next season?

Football

Could veteran defensive lineman return next season?

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One of Clemson’s veteran defensive lineman will miss the rest of the season with an injury, but it might not spell the end of his career with the Tigers.

Senior defensive end Justin Foster only played in four games this season as he fought a back injury that he tried to relieve with a couple of epidurals, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. But that didn’t work, so Foster will undergo surgery that will cut his season short.

“Very, very frustrating with him battling back,” Swinney said on his radio show Monday. “He was playing well and doing some good stuff.”

But Swinney didn’t rule out the possibility of Foster electing to return for a sixth season in the program.

“He could come back another year. We’ll see,” Swinney said. “I think he might have that potential, but I don’t know if he’ll want to do that. I think he accomplished for sure what he wanted to, and that was to be able to get back and play football and end on his terms, so to speak. But I love that young man.”

The handful of games this season is all Foster has played since the end of the 2019 season. Foster missed all of last season because of complications from COVID-19 and asthma. He walked away from football before deciding to rejoin the team this summer.

But since the NCAA granted all fall-sport athletes a free year of eligibility last season amid the pandemic, Foster could use a redshirt this season and return if he chooses. Foster, who’s already graduated, finished this season with five tackles and a quarterback pressure.

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