Washington Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger was released Monday after his latest critical comments about the team’s coaching staff, some of which had previously been delivered during radio appearances. So it was fitting that Swearinger broke the news of his release during an appearance with Grant Paulsen and Pete Medhurst on 106.7 The Fan, a station Swearinger appeared on weekly this fall. The news came at the beginning of the previously scheduled interview, but Swearinger’s provocative comments didn’t stop there. What follows are some of the choicest sound bites Swearinger offered up during a 30-minute conversation.
On Coach Jay Gruden telling him he had been released: “I asked him why; he didn’t give me an explanation. So I guess it was just because of the media . . . The last conversation we had, never in a million years would I have thought I’d be released . . . I was just like, ‘Oh wow, why?’ And he didn’t say anything. I guess he didn’t have an answer or respond; he just wanted to release me and that was that. There wasn’t no explanation on why. He just said this is the third time I’ve been in his office and we’re going to release you and that was that.”
On whether he wasn’t a fan of defensive coordinator Greg Manusky’s play-calling: “I wouldn’t say that because in the past we’ve made plays in the things that he’s called. My only issue was a few tweaks here and there that could make us better and get guys making more plays on the ball. That was my only issue. It wasn’t about the scheme or this or that. There was just times that, from a player’s perspective, we could be better in certain situations. Like I said, on third-and-seven, I would have zone eye so we could see the quarterback. If I’m wrong for that, then I’ve got to deal with the consequences. And the consequences are me being released, so I’m fine with that. I’m fine with that and I’m just ready to move forward with my journey in life.”
On being released at financial cost to the team: “I don’t have words for this, man. I had a Pro Bowl year. I came here and had eight interceptions in two years. I was a captain in year one. This year, I thought I improved on everything. And I get a slap in the face and get released, so you never know what could be said on top of what’s going on. But on my end, I knew I gave it my all and put my heart into it every single week trying to do the best I could to win games and get into the playoffs. And I guess it says a lot about the organization.”
On Gruden as a head coach: “You know, Jay, he’s a players' coach. And that can go one of two ways. It can go the players love him — ‘We want to play for you’ — or it can go to a ‘Man we’re not getting enough work.’ And if we are doing the things that we do mediocre-wise or practicing light, then certain things like the playoffs are just not going to happen for certain.”
On whether the Redskins need to work harder in practice: “Man, I’m not a Redskin anymore. Like I said, I’ve been on a team that has went to the playoffs, and [I’ve been on a team that] went 3-13 and I know the formula that Bruce Arians had [with the Arizona Cardinals]. And it was a successful formula. We practiced 10 times harder than we did here. You know, it’s kind of crazy that every time a player that comes here from another team, they’re like ‘Man, this is so laid-back.’ But I guess that’s just what type of practices we have: We have laid-back practices. Every teammate of my old that comes here, they ask me ‘Damn, bro, why is practice so laid-back, why are we just chillin’ out here?' But I guess that’s just the formula that this team has. And it would be less of a man of me to stoop down to the mediocre when I’m not a mediocre guy. I don’t like practicing mediocre, I don’t like preparing mediocre. And that’s sort of the thing I guess that hurt me and got me released, but if that’s the type of man that I am, to not accept mediocre, then I can live with that. I can live with being released and live with wanting to win and be a winner. I can live with it.”
On Jonathan Allen tweeting his support for Manusky: “I play defensive back, watch a lot of film. When you play D line — not taking anything from Allen, he plays D line, he’s in his second year — all they have to do is rush and get the quarterback or stop the run. It’s a different mind-set when you talk about a DB that’s been in the game for a while and a D lineman that hasn’t been in the game for a while. The DBs and the linebackers, er play a lot of coverage; nine times out of 10, the D line, they rush so they may not know what’s going on in the back end. I guess he’s a young player and he doesn’t really know about calls in the back end and, you know, he said the right thing. He said Greg Manusky called a good [game]. He had a great game, Jonathan Allen had a great game. And why wouldn’t he say that after he had a great game? If he has a great game, then of course he’s going to say [Manusky] called a good game. But like I said, he doesn’t play in the coverage, he doesn’t play in the back, he never knows what’s going on in the back end. So for him to say that, he’s taking up for his D coordinator, as he should. But on my end, I’m taking up for the players and the guys that’s going out there to war with me.”
On not being voted a captain this year: “I was voted the captain from the players and I have proof and evidence of that, from some of my teammates, but that’s another conversation elsewhere. Everybody voted on the captains this year. Offense and defense. Last year only the defense voted for the defense and the offense voted for the offense . . . I do know for a fact that I was named one of the captains and one of my teammates' votes did put me ahead of [a] three-way tie and it was the coach’s decision to not name me the [defensive] captain. This is the first team I’ve been on where we only have three captains. Everywhere else I’ve been we’ve had four or five captains. But this is the first year of my six-year career that we only have three captains. So that was ironic, and you could read between those lines. It’s not rocket science on why I wasn’t the captain. I’m a vocal guy, a passionate guy that wants to win, and if the coaches feel like I’m too smart or I’m a weapon as far as my smarts are concerned and to ignore what things are going wrong or not going well then they got to release the guy that has knowledge or has respect in the locker room, I guess.”
On how receptive coaches were to feedback: “My defensive backs coach, he understood everything. I would always come to them, I would text them at times throughout the night while I’m watching film till 1, 2 o’clock in the morning. Asking them, ‘Hey Coach, what do you think about this coverage? If we run this coverage we’ll be able to stop the run, we’ll be able to stop the pass. We’ll be dominant if we run these certain coverages.’ And it’s been times where I’ve even broken down and even taught my coaches certain coverages that would be so successful, man, if you just run it and if everybody came on the same page. I’ve asked Coach Manusky, I’ve sent him text messages 1, 2 o’clock in the morning. ‘Hey Coach, can we run this?’ "
On his relationship with Manusky: “Manusky even asked me, when I’m done playing, he asked me do I want to coach. You know, he wanted me to coach for him one day. Two weeks ago. Like I said, I send text messages all the time, whether I’m watching the practice, whether I’m watching the next film, whatever I’m doing, I’m just critiquing and I’m showing my passion for the game. I’m studying the film. I call myself a guru in the film room because I’ve seen so much film and watched so much film. . . . He was like, when I’m done playing football, he wants me to come coach. I still have the text messages. I still have all of that. But it is what it is, man, and I guess whatever happened, it happened for a reason.”
On what helmet he would wear if he winds up in the Pro Bowl: “I guess I gotta wear a South Carolina Gamecocks helmet, man.”
On his turbulent NFL career: “I’ve grown a lot in these last six years. I’m peaceful in this moment right now, man. Not like the last, I got released from Houston, I got released from Tampa and that wasn’t so peaceful, but I am peaceful right now because I know I laid everything on the line and did it the right way. I might rub some people the wrong way with some of the things that I said in the media, but at the end of the day, those things, they’re only gonna help us win. If they want to win, something will change and something will happen, but if they don’t want to win, then it is what it is.”
On what he would do as a coach if a player called him out: “I would go to the player, talk to the player, get him to understand that ‘Okay, well we don’t like this or like that,’ and if that doesn’t work, we’ll just tell the media hey, you can’t interview this guy. We don’t want this guy interviewed. Because that’s something that I’ve said, I’ve said in the past, ‘Hey coach, if you don’t like the things that I said, hey man, just tell them to stop interviewing me, bro,’ because the only thing I know is 100 percent truth and being real. So if you don’t want me being interviewed, if you don’t want these people hearing what I got to say, just tell these people to stop interviewing me and keep me away from the media. And I’ll be fine with just coming to work and ballin.’”
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