A day after a damning report about the front-office culture of Washington’s NFL team, a former player is calling out ex-coach Jay Gruden.
New Orleans Saints safety D.J. Swearinger posted a text exchange he says he had with Gruden that appears to show the former Washington head coach challenging him to a fight. He published the exchange on Instagram with his own message that “they all need to be exposed.”
Swearinger played for Washington from 2017-18. He wrote that the exchange occurred after a 40-16 loss to the New York Giants over Swearinger’s comments in a postgame interview.
(The text exchange below contains NSFW language)
‘Wanna play? Let’s f---ing play’
“I was gonna give the man a pass, but after what’s going on with that organization with women!” Swearinger wrote. “They all need to be exposed. I have a daughter to raise!”
Swearinger’s criticism of coaching staff, release
“That’s a bad call,” Swearinger said of a defensive call made by coordinator Greg Manusky, per the Washington Post. “I feel like that was a horrible call. ...
“I voice my frustrations every single time I come off the field. 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. I can only put my heart in this [expletive], dog. Put my heart in this [expletive] to give them what I can give them. Whether they take it or not, that’s another thing.”
Gruden said after Swearinger’s release that the two had talked earlier in the season about him publicly criticizing the coaching staff.
“Thought we squashed it,” Gruden said. “I guess not.”
What Swearinger said after loss to Giants
The 40-16 loss to the Giants took place on Dec. 9, two weeks before the loss to the Titans. After the Giants loss, Swearinger had this to say about the coaching staff, per NBC Sports.
“You can’t say it’s the players, man, because we the same players,” Swearinger said. “We’re the same guys. We’re putting in the same work. Defense, we’re practicing hard. …
“From a player’s standpoint, we’re practicing, bro. Like I say, I can’t give you no answers to that because I’m not the coaches.”
It’s not clear if that’s the specific interview Swearinger references in Friday’s Instagram post. Swearinger wrote this of Gruden’s response a day after the alleged text exchange:
“Somebody told him that I said something about him in the interview but when he watched the interview he realized that person was lying & he actually agreed with everything I said.”
Prior to his release, Swearinger started all 31 games he played in Washington at free safety. Washington finished 7-9 in 2018 for its third consecutive third-place finish in the NFC East.
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