Remember the Name: Kevin Swayne
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) _ Kevin Swayne has been such a busy guy the last two years that he hasn’t had a chance to sleep in his own house in Iowa.
Lately, Swayne can’t seem to get off the football field. He played in the XFL for Orlando, then went directly to Arena Football, where he had 131 catches for 1,890 yards and 43 touchdowns for the New York Dragons.
The Dragons lost in the playoffs on a Friday night and, two days later, he was trying out for the New York Jets. The team immediately signed him to a training camp contract and Swayne has been a sensation ever since.
``Every time I say that guy’s name, he does pretty good,″ coach Herman Edwards said Saturday after Swayne made several impressive plays during practice. ``He obviously has a nice chance of making the football team.
``He played 28 games and then comes in and runs all over the field and flashes something.″
Swayne, 26, has flashed so much that he has burst ahead of many of the reserve receivers. The Jets currently have 12 wideouts on the roster, including top draft pick Santana Moss, who is out at least three weeks with torn left knee cartilage. Moss underwent arthroscopic surgery Saturday with no complications.
Swayne still is no threat to the security of Moss, Wayne Chrebet, Matthew Hatchette and Laveranues Coles. He is pushing fifth receiver Windrell Hayes.
One advantage Swayne has is his familiarity with a fast-paced attack. The Jets are installing the West Coast offense and Swayne feels comfortable with it after four seasons in the Arena League. In fact, when he was with the Iowa Barnstormers in 1998, his quarterback was Kurt Warner.
``The West Coast is all about that fast pace, and so is Arena ball,″ Swayne said. ``I’m not intimidated by the pace and I tried to jump in as fast as I could. Standing around and watching is not going to help me out.
``You need critical thinking skills in Arena ball, so the pace definitely helps me here.
``If I couldn’t play this game, I wouldn’t be here.″
Swayne previously was in San Diego’s training camp, but was cut last August. He also was on the Eagles’ practice squad for seven weeks in 1999.
In Saturday’s practice, Swayne starred in the 2-minute drill. He made an excellent move to get free in the end zone for a pass from Chad Pennington to conclude the session.
``He’s been doing things like that,″ Edwards said.
Swayne also was practicing punt returns, something he hasn’t done since playing at Wayne State (Neb.) in 1996. With Moss gone for most _ if not all _ of preseason, the Jets are desperately seeking someone to run back punts. They’ve had veterans Aaron Glenn and Chrebet working out, but Swayne is willing if called upon.
``Sure, if that’s something that will the team and help me, I’ll return them,″ he said. ``I caught some kickoffs off the net in Arena ball.
``I want to do whatever it takes. I have to gain the trust of the other players right now.″
Is Swayne worried about running out of gas? Apparently not, because he was seen jogging following the 90-minute practice. He just might run and catch his way into the NFL.