The Texans were unable to find a trade partner for the big-hitting (and big-talking) safety, so they released him on Monday with two years remaining on his rookie contract. We still don't know the details behind the decision, although some speculate that it could be anything from poor performance or scheme-fit to a possible conflicting attitude of entitlement that didn't sit well with the new regime. Perhaps it is a combination of all those elements that led to an early dismissal.
Tampa Bay had the priority position in the waiver process and claimed D.J. Swearinger, but it appears that a total of eight teams showed interest in his services.
Source: 8 total teams put in a waiver claim on S D.J. Swearinger - TB, JAX, OAK, NYJ, ATL, BUF, PITT, BALT. Bucs had 1st priority.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 13, 2015
I find it somewhat interesting that the coaches who were involved in drafting him for the Texans, Gary Kubiak and Wade Phillips (now with the Denver Broncos), did not put in a waiver claim.
Former Teammates and Opponents Speak Up
Former teammate and veteran Texans leader Chris Myers was on Sports Radio 610 this morning and was asked about Swearinger. I am paraphrasing since I can't locate the exact audio or any written quotes, but Myers started his response with accolades for a player he thought was an exceptional athlete. Then he made a point that if he were a young player coming into the NFL, he would remain quiet and just do what he was asked to do to help the team. That last part indicates that perhaps, and this is no stretch of the imagination, "Swagg" did just the opposite.
You may recall that in one of last year's episodes of HBO's popular show "Hard Knocks," where the Falcons visited Houston for a week of preseason activities that ended with a game at NRG Stadium, Swearinger literally fueled the Atlanta wide receivers into a lengthy rant on the sidelines about how he would not shut up.
Roddy White was quoted later:
"Not really my flavor," White said. "Any guy that goes out there and talks all day — you know, you’ve gotta be able to play. All that rah rah at the end of the day means nothing if you don’t go out there and make plays."
At one point in the game, Swearinger made a pass deflection, but was then flagged for excessive celebration. The Falcons scored a touchdown on the next play. In the fourth quarter, Texans rookie defensive back Andre Hal scored a touchdown on a 64-yard interception. Swearinger drew a penalty on that play as well.
"Once he starts playing and making plays, I think he’ll be a good player," White said. "But until that point, I have no idea."
Prior to that game, Swearinger got into it with Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas at the practice facility across from NRG Stadium:
Hopefully the change of scenery in Tampa will give D.J. Swearinger a fresh start to approach his profession with, well, professionalism. Obviously at least eight teams thought he had the talent to help them win. Best wishes to him!