There were denials from journalists and warnings that it was a hoax. "Welcome to 'La Fiera!' You're now a Club Leon player".
The marketing gimmick seemed to work. But just as the story was losing its force came the almost surreal twist late on Friday: Donovan, 35, was actually signing for the club. It's rare to see the 35-year-old venture outside of MLS, but that's just what's happening here.
A statement from the 49ers Friday night said: "The San Francisco 49ers organization is aware of the matter involving Reuben Foster and we are currently gathering all relevant facts".
Donovan is the fourth USMNT international to play for Club León joining William Yarborough, Eric Wynalda, and Marcelo Balboa.
Pachuca defender Omar Gonzalez, a former US national teammate of Donovan, tweeted that he looks forward to seeing Donovan in a Mexican League fixture next month, Donovan retweeting his thanks and saying they would meet on February 24. He played in three World Cups including the run to the quarterfinals in 2002 and winning its group in 2010. I want to go to Mexico, wear green & win trophies with Leon. It will also provide a sense of completion, with Donovan close to moving to Club America in 2009 and always right at the top of the list of players that could add so much to Liga MX.
Rory McIlroy says he has a heart ailment that will have to be monitored regularly but is not expected to affect his play.
"President, I love the city".
The league's all-time leader in goals and assists retired after helping the Galaxy to the 2014 MLS Cup and then returned to retirement after a brief return during the end of the 2016 season.
He has played just 455 professional minutes in the last three years and had taken up broadcasting with FOX Sports. "On-field intelligence he has in spades".
He was the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Month in November. Or, is he just going to serve in a mentor-type role?
For the second time in three years, the U.S. soccer legend is coming out of retirement.
That said, if Donovan's career teaches you anything, it is that you shouldn't bet against "Captain America" succeeding against the odds.