Talk about a tough Christmas Eve.
Hours after Washington was eliminated from the playoffs, safety D.J. Swearinger was released by the team.
Swearinger says he was axed because he made critical comments about the coaching staff, including a sharp rebuke of the defensive gameplan during Washington’s 25-16 loss on Saturday to the Titans, which all but sealed their playoff fate.
Washington head coach Jay Gruden told a Washington Post reporter that the team thought it was “best for both parties” if they move on from Swearinger, who had one year left on the three-year contract he signed with before the start of the 2017 season.
Swearinger caught the ire of Gruden after publicly blasting Washington defensive coordinator Greg Manusky for his play calls late in the game.
“That’s a bad call. I feel like that was a horrible call,” said Swearinger about Manusky’s decision to have the Washington defense play a man-to-man coverage on a play that resulted in a crucial penalty and allowed the Titans to score the go-ahead points. " ... I’m not the D-coordinator, but we didn’t make the plays. I guess we didn’t make the plays. And there’s plenty of plays out there to make.”
Gruden had told media after the loss that he planned to speak with Swearinger about his comments, but hadn’t indicated he planned to release the 27-year-old.
“I’m quite disappointed, to be honest with you," Gruden said once he learned of Swearinger’s reaction after the loss.
This isn’t the first time Swearinger has expressed his opinion about his team, but the Post says it’s the first time he’s publicly called out his defensive coordinator.
“I voice my frustrations every single time I come off the field,” said Swearinger. “I’m a very smart football player. I probably watch more film than the coaches. That’s probably documented. I try to give my insight, but you know, it doesn’t work."
Swearinger led the Redskins in interceptions and pass breakups and was tied for the most forced fumbles with a handful of other players.
He was also named a Pro Bowl alternate just last week.
Swearinger broke the news when he told a D.C.-area sports talk radio station during a previously scheduled weekly call-in session.
“I’m peaceful about it,” he said on 106.7 The Fan on Monday. “I don’t regret nothing, because I know I gave 100 percent from my heart.”
The Eagles travel to Washington (7-8) this weekend for their final regular-season game, one they must win if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive.