Sean Pendergast

D.J. Swearinger Gets Picked Up by Tampa Bay (w/ O'Brien AUDIO)

For what I would presume was the past several days, the Houston Texans had been shopping safety D.J. Swearinger, trying to find a trade partner desperate enough for a strong safety with tackling and coverage issues that they would give up a draft choice or something of even minimal value in a deal. 

The Texans tried unsuccessfully to make that happen, and I'm guessing when Swearinger himself posted to his Instagram page that his time as a Texan was through, whatever semblance of a trade market that existed dried up immediately. That said, for a guy whom no team would throw so much as a seventh-round draft choice for, it didn't take long for Swearinger to get scooped up, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took advantage of their pole position on the waiver wire by picking up the former Texans safety.

Swearinger will reportedly be thrown immediately into the mix to compete for a starting safety slot along with Bradley McDougald, Major Wright and Chris Conte.


A photo posted by Dj Swearinger (@jungleboi_swaggg) on

Now comes the speculation as to exactly why Swearinger was cut loose by the Texans, not that it really matters at this point. Plenty of evidence has been put forth, and truth be told, it's probably a combination of all that evidence — his dog biting Clowney, his skipping out on a $20,000 truck improvement tab, his lack of improvement from his rookie year, his seemingly endless number of D.J.-centric radio shows across multiple Houston radio stations. There was one interesting reason presented today, one that has been mentioned in passing before:

Okay, unlike the negatives we can see with our own eyes (like everything I listed above), this one is a little murkier. Without being inside the building, do we really know if Swearinger was "unwilling" to play special teams? I mean, he did actually play on special teams some last season.

Well, that brings us to some interesting audio from a coach's clinic at Notre Dame earlier this year, where Texans head coach Bill O'Brien was one of the guest speakers. Here is a fantastic audio sequence in which O'Brien is addressing the issue of entitlement as it relates to players being part of a team.

First, O'Brien talks about J.J. Watt and how he is one huge bundle of impact plays covered in a blanket of teamwork and dipped in a glossy coat of all-out effort and big dreams:


Then, O'Brien discusses the elusive versatility that he cherishes oh-so-much in all of his players:


And then, finally, here's the money shot, in which O'Brien directly mentions a player who was a "second-round pick" who took issue with the then-rookie head coach implying that the player needed to play special teams in order to make the team:


Checking the Texans' list of draft choices, the only second-round draft picks on the roster during O'Brien's first season were Xavier Su'a-Filo (2014), Swearinger (2013), Brooks Reed (2011) and Brandon Harris (also 2011). Harris was cut at the end of training camp last season, but he seemed to happily play special teams all the time. Brooks Reed barely used words in his time as a Texan, so that leaves Su'a-Filo (who couldn't crack the starting lineup, so I doubt he got uppity about special teams) and Swearinger.

The Sean Odds board has installed Swearinger as the -5000 favorite to be the second-round choice O'Brien referenced at the coaching clinic. Not that it matters. He's Tampa Bay's problem now.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast