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Vocal S Swearinger sent packing
The circus atmosphere that has enveloped the Washington Redskins the last two months of the season continued this week when safety D.J. Swearinger was waived for repeatedly criticizing the coaching staff in public.
Swearinger, a Pro Bowl alternate with four interceptions who had solidified the safety position for Washington since signing in 2017, was released two days after a crushing loss to the Tennessee Titans ended the Redskins' playoff hopes.
"The discussions were private," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "I had multiple discussions with him in previous instances. At the end of the day, we thought as an organization it was best for us to part ways. Obviously, he wasn't happy. He voiced his displeasure many, many times. At the end of the day, we thought it was best for him to let him go and best for us moving forward."
Swearinger, 27, was critical of defensive coordinator Greg Manusky Saturday after the loss to the Titans. He insisted that the team played too much man-to-man defense against backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who filled in for injured starter Marcus Mariota late in the first half and played the rest of the game. Tennessee rallied for a 25-16 win in a game the Redskins led much of the way.
That was enough for Gruden and the organization. Swearinger was waived Monday and picked up on waivers by the Arizona Cardinals, one of the four teams he has played for in a six-year career. Swearinger left the Cardinals as a free agent to sign with Washington in 2017.
"We've had discussions before in the past obviously and it's my fault. 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. D.J. did some great things here without a doubt. 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."
A major issue for the Redskins at safety has been a black hole for well over a decade since Sean Taylor was shot and killed in his home during a robbery attempt during the 2007 season. Swearinger strengthened that position.
But 2017 fourth-round pick Montae Nicholson was put on the reserve/non-football illness list this month after an arrest for assault and battery and 2018 fourth-round pick Troy Apke has made minimal impact as a rookie. Deshazor Everett has primarily been a reserve or special teams player in his three seasons. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, acquired in a midseason trade with Green Bay to replace Nicholson in the lineup, has struggled and is a pending free agent. Swearinger's departure leaves a gaping hole at the position that will need to be addressed in the offseason once again.
SERIES HISTORY: 167th regular-season meeting. Redskins lead series, 85-76-5. But the Eagles have won three in a row, including 28-13 on Dec. 3 in Philadelphia on Monday Night Football. Philadelphia could clinch a playoff spot with a victory.