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Clemson DE Foster changes mind, will return to Tigers

(AP Photo/Richard Shiro)

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) Clemson defensive end Justin Foster, who missed the 2020 season due to COVID-19 and asthma, has changed his mind about leaving the Tigers and will rejoin the program.

Foster, a 6-foot-2, 275-pound senior from Shelby, North Carolina, had decided to give up the college game because of lingering affects of contracting the coronavirus combined with his asthma. However, he said he got encouraging news at a recent doctor's appointment and felt good enough to start working out.

Foster called Clemson coach Dabo Swinney that he wanted to come back. "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 in a statement.

Foster has played in 39 games and made 13 starts from 2017-19. He has 66 career tackles including seven sacks.

Foster said throughout his illness and recovery, doctors couldn't give him a timetable of when he might feel well enough to play. That's why, Foster said, he stepped away in February before Clemson began spring workouts.

"If I didn't come back, it would have been what it is and that would have been the reality of the situation," Foster said. "But at the end of the day, I am happy that I'm getting better and I want to come back and play."

If Foster can return to form, he'll be part of a defense that finished 15th nationally in yards allowed, giving up just 326 a game.

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Updated May 5, 2021

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