After he said goodbye to the City of Houston in the middle of the night via Instagram, the Texans have officially released strong safety D.J. Swearinger. NFL Media's Ian Rapaport was the first to report that Swearinger would not be a Texan going into the 2015 season, and the Chronicle's John McClain has since confirmed his release on Twitter.
Texans released Swearinger.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) May 11, 2015
Swearinger had an up and down career in Houston after being taken in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Despite inconsistencies with tackling, occasional mental breakdowns while playing in deep zones, and a personality on the field that rubbed some fans the wrong way, he was still the best option on the team for Romeo Crennel's hybrid safety/linebacker role when the team switched to dime packages. Not only that, but Swearinger flashed the ability to be a great man-cover defender against running backs and tight ends alike.
The former Gamecock was certainly talented enough to warrant a roster spot on a team that still has some holes to fill, which really only leaves one reason for why Bill O'Brien would want to get rid of him - character. There have been rumors of multiple incidents, both documented and not, that have made their way to the surface since the start of the 2015 offseason. From Swearinger's pit bull biting fellow Texan Jadeveon Clowney on the arm, to his alleged theft of his own truck off of the lot of a local body shop, to even rumors that Swearinger walked out of special teams meetings last season because he felt that his status as a second round pick precluded him from playing on the special teams unit, it is easy to see a bit of a pattern building up with "Jungle Boi's" personality clashing with the culture that Bill O'Brien is trying to build.
Beyond that, an anonymous user on the Texans' subreddit had this so say about some possible additional context for Swearinger's release.
"Using a throwaway for this since it could link back to who I am. I've known many of the football players while going to South Carolina and I can say right now that DJ was probably the least "Texans culture" player out of them all. I was honestly shocked when the Texans drafted him. I'm a huge DJ fan but I just did not see him sticking with the Texans. There's absolutely no chance the Texans would have taken him if they knew everything he was up to in college. DJ isn't just "swagg" on the field, he really carries that reckless persona with everything he does. I'm not one to critize but I can see how it would cause a lot of friction with the Texans organization once they really got to know him. Word from current USC players is that Clowney and DJ are still good friends hanging out everyday and living it up in Pearland now...I wouldn't be surprised if part of the reason the Texans let him go was his influence on Clowney. Especially since there were rumors of Clowney and DJ playing pick-up at the Pearland rec center."
Obviously, there is not an ounce of that story that can be corroborated by anyone at Battle Red Blog. However, considering the other rumors and documented incidents that have surrounded Swearinger since the end of the 2014 season, it is not entirely implausible to believe that the Texans organization wants to insulate Jadeveon Clowney from any...ahem..."eccentric" influences that could derail his recovery from microfracture surgery.
On behalf of the rest of BRB, we wish D.J. the best in his pursuit to find a new team. He is not a bad player, nor is he a bad person, but he just didn't quite fit the atmosphere that Bill O'Brien is putting together in Houston. For those keeping score at home, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is now the only player left on the Texans' roster from the 2013 class drafted in the first five rounds.