Two days after the release of safety DJ Swearinger, Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden was on the podium explaining his thoughts of cutting the best defensive player on the team.
“We’ve had discussions before in the past, obviously. It’s my fault,” Gruden said via Pro Football Talk. “Ultimately, it’s my fault. Obviously, I didn’t make it clear to certain people that we don’t talk about our business to the media, and 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 to my mind can’t afford to have, so we moved on.”
Swearinger was released by the Redskins after his post-game criticism of defensive coordinator Greg Manusky following their 25-16 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Swearinger bashed Manusky’s decision to play man-to-man defense over zone coverage against Titans backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert in the second half following the injury to starter Marcus Mariota.
Saturday’s bashing was not Swearinger’s first time doing so. He had repeatedly criticized teammates and coaches following losses, starting with a Week 14 loss against the Los Angeles Chargers in 2017. Then, he ripped the tone and approach in the team’s practices.
Swearinger’s piercing criticizing carried over into the 2018 season that followed after losses to the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons. Again, he wolfed about the tone and approach in the team’s practices.
A closed door meeting followed with the team addressing Swearinger for his post-game criticism, according to JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington.
Swearinger answered with more criticism following a Week 14 loss to the New York Giants.
Then there was Saturday’s comments which appeared to be the final straw for Gruden and the Redskins.
Wednesday, Gruden said Swearinger committed “repeated offenses” referencing his claim of multiple talks with the safety over his public criticism.
Gruden was asked if the decision to release Swearinger affects his future as the Redskins head coach?
“Whether I’m here or not (in 2019) I felt pretty strongly it was the right decision,” Gruden answered per John Keim of ESPN.com.