Jay Gruden: Swearinger release ‘right decision’
ASHBURN When safety D.J. Swearinger was released from the Redskins earlier this week for blasting the coaching staff, it wasn’t long before his (now former) teammates weighed in on social media.
Running back Adrian Peterson commented underneath Swearinger’s Instagram post and wrote that he’d take the safety on his team “any day.”
Linebacker Mason Foster tweeted “Love” and a picture of the two teammates together.
Perennial All-Pro Trent Williams uploaded a similar shot and wrote, “some [expletive] is impossible to understand.”
While the team’s move may have rattled some in the locker room, coach Jay Gruden insisted Wednesday it was the right decision.
“I didn’t expect everybody to be happy about it,” Gruden said. “I wish it would have never happened, really to be honest with you, because I like D.J. and I like what he brought to this football team, his energy and his compassion and competitiveness. At the end of the day, we just can’t have that.
“So, I think everybody will learn from it, grow from it and at the end of the day, when you work for a company or work for a team, its best that you try to be positive with your remarks.”
Gruden said multiple warnings for Swearinger factored into his release. This wasn’t the first time the 27-year-old, who was claimed by the Arizona Cardinals on Tuesday, had aired out his frustrations to the media.
Over his two seasons with the Redskins, Swearinger spoke out several times about what he considered deficiencies in the team’s preparation and coaching.
“What he’s doing is not helpful one bit,” Gruden said Sunday, before releasing Swearinger a day later.
Gruden said a message needed to be sent “for the team’s sake.”
“Ultimately, it’s my fault,” Gruden said. “Obviously, I didn’t make it clear to certain people that we don’t talk about our business to the media. For me to allow that to creep in is ultimately my fault ... We wish him nothing but the best. But at the end of the day, that’s something that this franchise or any franchise in my mind can’t afford to have, so we moved on.”
Not every teammate agreed with Swearinger’s comments after Saturday’s 25-16 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen tweeted that defensive coordinator Greg Manusky “called a great game” which led Swearinger to fire back in a radio interview on Monday. The 27-year-old safety cited their difference in experience and positions, saying the lineman had no idea what was going in the secondary.
Allen said he did not see Swearinger’s response, but added he has nothing personal against the safety.
“I don’t agree with him,” Allen said. “That doesn’t mean I dislike D.J. as a player or as a teammate. I just disagree with the comments. I felt like I wanted people to hear my opinion. I don’t think it was on Greg Manusky. As a player, you can’t put it on Manusky. We’re the ones who are supposed to go out there and execute, do our jobs and make the plays.
“I don’t feel like it was fair for him to take the criticism.”
Gruden and Swearinger also disagree about whether the comments were helpful. Swearinger told 106.7 The Fan, he was trying to “help us win.”
Gruden, on Sunday, called it a distraction.
The incident, however, didn’t deter the Cardinals, the Oakland Raiders and the Green Bay Packers all putting a claim on Swearinger once he was put on waivers. The Cardinals were awarded Swearinger since they have the worst record in the NFL.
Some viewed the Redskins’ move to release Swearinger as an indication Gruden’s job is safe for next season. After all, why would the Redskins cut bait with Swearinger, a productive player whose contract expires in 2020, if the whole coaching staff is going to be replaced after this season?
Gruden shot down that theory, calling Swearinger’s release a group decision.
“Whether I’m here or not (in 2019), I don’t know,” Gruden said. “But I know we felt very strongly that this was the right decision.”