“I am so excited to go back to the sunny desert Arizona like I never left!!” Swearinger wrote in an Instagram post. “I’m Baaaaacckkkk!!!!”
The Cardinals, whose 3-12 record is the worst in the NFL, had first priority for waiver claims.
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#BirdGang 2016 A Day B4 I Thought I Was Going Back To Az My Agent Told Me We Were Gonna Go To Washington To Start Our Own Culture And Get More Money Up Front! Of Course I Made My Decision Because I Wanted To Play For My Idol’s Team And Fulfill His Legacy And Mines! I Gave That Organization My Heart And Soul And They Spit In My Face For Giving My Opinion Only To Better The Team!! Right Wrong Or Indifferent I’ve Found My Peace And Learned From It And I Am So Excited To Go Back To The Sunny Desert Arizona Like I Never Left!! I’m Baaaaacckkkk!!!!
Swearinger laid into Washington defensive coordinator Greg Manusky after the Redskins fell to the Tennessee Titans on Saturday, 25-16. Tennessee’s backup quarterback, Blaine Gabbert, threw for 101 yards and a touchdown against the Washington defense after replacing injured starter Marcus Mariota late in the first half.
Swearinger openly questioned Manusky’s calls to the media afterward, drawing the ire of Coach Jay Gruden.
"We should have blowed them out,” Swearinger said. “If I’m the D-coordinator, I’m calling zone every time on third down because you got a backup quarterback. Make him beat us.
“We’re playing a backup quarterback. Why would you put us in man to man? We are our best on defense when we look at the quarterback.”
Gruden called Swearinger into his office Monday and told him the Redskins were releasing him with one game left in the regular season. The sixth-year defensive back out of South Carolina was one of Washington’s most productive — and popular — defenders, with four interceptions, three forced fumbles and 51 tackles this season. He was voted a Pro Bowl alternate, and Pro Football Focus graded Swearinger as the No. 11 safety in the NFL this season.
Swearinger was in the second year of a three-year, $13.5 million deal he signed with Washington before the 2017 season. He started every game in his two seasons with the team. But he had repeatedly criticized the team’s preparation, making critical remarks at least six times over his two seasons in Washington.
In a previously scheduled interview Monday with 106.7 The Fan, Swearinger said he didn’t consider his remarks about Manusky to be especially harsh and that he had gotten little explanation for his release, with Gruden telling him “this is the third time I’ve been in his office and we’re going to release you and that was that.”
Asked if he “wasn’t a fan” of Manusky’s play-calling, Swearinger said, “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.”
He said he had frequently offered feedback to Manusky, and that Manusky had asked Swearinger if he wanted to coach one day.
“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,” Swearinger said in the radio interview. “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.”
Swearinger was drafted by the Texans in 2013 but had a falling out with that coaching staff and was waived after two seasons. He briefly joined the Buccaneers but was released after appearing in seven games, and then landed with the Cardinals. He played four games for Arizona in 2015, recording a forced fumble and seven tackles. He started 12 games for the Cardinals the following season, recording three interceptions, two sacks and 66 tackles.
In his Instagram post, Swearinger wrote that he thought he would return to the Cardinals after that 2016 season, but that his agent told him to go to Washington and get more money up front. He had long idolized Sean Taylor, talking frequently of the former Redskins star, and wrote in his post that he gave the Redskins “my heart and soul and they spit in my face for giving my opinion only to better the team!! Right wrong or indifferent I’ve found my peace and learned from it.”
The 7-8 Redskins, who will play their regular season finale Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, now face major offseason questions at the safety position.
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