For a player whose bark was always a lot bigger than his on-field bite, the Texans career of strong safety D.J. Swearinger ended rather quietly on Monday, with a press release from Texans media relations in which Swearinger's name was buried amidst about a half dozen Texans rookies who'd either been signed, waived or let go because of injury.
Aside from Swearinger's own farewell on Instagram in the wee hours of Monday morning, there were no teary good-byes, no thanks for what few memories there may have been. Just D.J. Swearinger's name underneath something called a "Jake Cotton" in a nondescript email on a Monday afternoon, a harmless notification whose underlying message was loud and clear — there are no scraps in Bill O'Brien's scrapbook. It's his way or the highway.
How else do you explain a team just completely punting on a second-round choice from two years ago who started 12 games last season? There are certainly less productive players on this roster with smaller dead money amounts and bleaker overall futures in the league than Swearinger (unless Keshawn Martin has been cut, and I'm just not aware of it). But D.J. Swagg is the one on his way out, and it's fair to surmise that it has very little to do with football.
In fact, until we are told otherwise by general manager Rick Smith and head coach Bill O'Brien, it's completely in play that Swearinger's pit bull (who bit Jadeveon Clowney earlier this spring) and his automobile detailer (who handed Swearinger a bill that he promptly ignored) have as much to do with Swagg's ouster as his poor tackling form and inability to cover tight ends and running backs. Of course, how much we learn from Smith and O'Brien on why Swearinger is now gone is anybody's guess.
Hell, as of early this afternoon, a good ten hours after Swearinger's Instagram post, both Smith and O'Brien were playing coy with the media at the Texans' charity golf tournament, both insisting Swearinger was still a member of the team. First, Smith...
And then O'Brien….
So presumably, D.J. Swearinger will get a new start with another team that might be able to better utilize his skill set, whatever that may be. Since he was drafted on Gary Kubiak's and Wade Phillips's watch in Houston, I would imagine a call to Denver from Swearinger's representation has been made or will be soon. For the Texans, the waiver of Swearinger represents another brick falling out of the catastrophic wall that is the team's 2013 draft class, which appears to be shaping up like most of the draft classes that have been assembled on Smith's watch the past five years — a first-round pick that looks like a ten-year player and a remaining class that won't play ten years combined in the league.
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Their 2013 first-round pick, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, looks as if he will be a solid pro for many years. After that? A slew of botched picks, medical casualties and guys making plays elsewhere:
2. D.J. SWEARINGER, SS: Released
3a. BRENNAN WILLIAMS, OT: Released (signed with Jaguars)
3b. SAM MONTGOMERY, DE: Released (signed with Raiders, released; signed with Bengals)
4. TREVARDO WILLIAMS, OLB: Released (signed with Cardinals, released; signed with Colts, released; signed with Redskins)
6a. DAVID QUESSENBERRY, OT: Injured reserve (missed 2014 with lymphoma)
6b. ALAN BONNER, WR: Injured reserve
6c. CHRIS JONES, DT: Released (starts for Patriots)
6d. RYAN GRIFFIN, TE: Texans third string
That's hard to look at, especially considering that this class actually contributed more overall to the team than the 2014 class, for a variety of reasons. If the draft gives an NFL team its foundation, the Texans are on quicksand right now, and frankly, they owe their fans answers as to how the draft has fallen apart so badly the past two years. The release of D.J. Swearinger is just the latest and, by draft slot, most costly misfire on this general manager's watch.
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