Old pals reunite in Redskins’ secondary
New Washington Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger broke off on a route during Wednesday’s offseason practice that amused cornerback Josh Norman.
“Bro, what was that?” Norman asked Swearinger. Norman said Swearinger replied, “Man, I’m just out here balling.”
That’s what Norman remembers most about Swearinger the last time they wore the same uniform as high school teammates — he’s a baller. The two helped Greenwood (S.C.) High win its 13th state title in 2006. Now, Norman and Swearinger will look to rediscover that winning chemistry in Washington.
“Playing with somebody from where you’re from, you pretty much know what’s going on without even saying much,” Norman said Wednesday. “The nonverbal is more keen than the verbal. I know where he’s going to be. He knows where I’m going to be.”
Greenwood’s population is about 23,000, yet it boasts two prominent players in Washington’s secondary. Swearinger and Norman discussed the possibility of teaming up during the offseason as Swearinger weighed his options. It quickly became a reality during the opening hours of free agency after Swearinger, an unrestricted free agent, signed a three-year deal worth up to $13.5 million.
“A lot of guys from where we [are] from, they don’t usually make it this big,” Swearinger said. “. . . That’s a blessing.”
Swearinger filled a position of need for the Redskins, who have struggled to receive consistent play from their safeties. He has bounced around the NFL for four seasons, playing with the Houston Texans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals, but Swearinger has quickly impressed Redskins Coach Jay Gruden during the non-contact practices.
“He just looks like a safety back there,” Gruden said. “We know that he’s a physical guy, but as far as coverages and breaking up things, he’s got a lot of confidence.”