Redskins' D.J. Swearinger Says Texans 'Bashed My Name,' Rips Bill O'BrienNovember 14, 2018
Washington Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger said Tuesday the Houston Texans "bashed my name pretty bad" after hiring Bill O'Brien as their head coach to replace Gary Kubiak.
John Keim of ESPN.com noted Swearinger, who spent the first two seasons of his career in Houston, didn't enjoy the culture change when O'Brien took over in 2014:
"Kubiak let me be myself, let me do whatever as long as I played ball. O'Brien was a control guy: 'You can't do this. You can't do that.' It came to a point where the DB coach [John Butler] took something I said wrong about the film and told coach O'Brien. I remember it like it was yesterday. We stopped the walk-through. He cut the walk-through short. O'Brien talked to me and all the defensive coaches and chewed me out, dog. I'll never forget that. I'm like, 'Dang.'"
The 27-year-old defensive back took to Instagram later Tuesday to further his stance.
"There Was A Misunderstanding With My DB Coach That Lead To Unprofessional Actions By My Head Coach (O'Brien) That I Could No Longer Respect! Which Lead To Me Being Cut," he wrote. "That Same Coach Told Me I Would Be Outta The League In 3 Years. Unfortunately, My God & Grind Had A Plan And Knew That 6 years Later....I Would Make Him Eat His Words."
Houston selected Swearinger in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft.
He enjoyed a solid start to his career with 144 combined tackles, 10 passes defended, four forced fumbles, three interceptions and a sack across his first two seasons.
The University of South Carolina product's apparent inability to see eye-to-eye with O'Brien led the Texans to release him in May 2015, though. He's proceeded to bounce around the league, making stops with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals and Redskins over the past four years.
Swearinger has seemingly found his comfort zone in Washington. He's racked up 34 combined tackles, nine passes defended, four picks and two forced fumbles in nine games so far this season. Pro Football Focus grades him as the league's third-best safety for 2018.
O'Brien downplayed any issues with Swearinger ahead of Sunday's clash between the Redskins and Texans, per Keim.
"You just try to make decisions in the best interest of the team," he said. "D.J. made a lot of plays for us here. He's a very instinctive, tough, competitive player. He's obviously gone on to Arizona and now in Washington and he's ... doing a great job, has got excellent ball skills, good tackler, tough, competitive guy."
It could be a defensive battle at FedExField with both sides ranking in the top seven of scoring defense, and Swearinger will play a key role for Washington if that's the case.