Former Gamecock DJ Swearinger looks for next NFL opportunity

After an NFL career that’s nearly spanned a decade, DJ Swearinger hasn’t lost his passion for playing the game of football. Now, Swearinger is just looking for his next opportunity.

The former South Carolina standout is a free agent after spending last season on the practice squad for the Indianapolis Colts.

“I’m going to keep grinding, man,” Swearinger said. “I will be on a team soon. I’m still young and feeling good. I feel like I haven’t played my best ball yet. I will be back-balling again.”

Swearinger was back in Columbia on April 15 when he hosted his annual celebrity basketball game to benefit his 2 Spoonz Foundation, which helps out youth in his hometown of Greenwood. In 2021, he bought the RL Stevens Center, which has been closed for 16 years, and plans to reopen it as the Swearinger Center to provide, arts and STEM classes, and after-school programs.

“I want to give these kids motivation. At the end of the day, it is what it is all about. That’s why I do it,” Swearinger said.

Swearinger also stays busy trying to catch on with another NFL team. He frequently posts videos to social media of his workouts.

He was an emotional and statistical leader during his time with the Gamecocks from 2009-12. He made 33 starts and had six interceptions

The Houston Texans picked Swearinger in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He has played for five different teams in his nine seasons. His last full season was with the New Orleans Saints in 2020.

Swearinger has appeared in 110 games during his pro career and has 396 tackles and 14 steals.

“I give everything I got no matter what they say or write. I’m always going to give you 100 percent,” Swearinger said. “I got a Kobe Bryant, Mamba mentality. We stay at the end, not in the middle. Been doing this thing for a long time. Can take a break when I am done.”

Swearinger isn’t the only former Gamecock player looking for a new team. Defensive end and former No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney and tight end Jared Cook also are free agents. Both were at Swearinger’s Celebrity game.

Clowney spent last season with the Cleveland Browns and had 37 tackles, nine sacks and two forced fumbles. There is a chance Clowney could be back with the Browns this season, according to one report.

Cook, a 13-year NFL veteran, played with the Los Angeles Chargers last year and caught 48 passes for 564 yards and four touchdowns. The 48 receptions were Cook’s most since 2018 with the Raiders.

“I am just staying ready and available,” Cook said. “I’m pretty proud of my year. It could have been better as always. I am enjoying my journey and I’m looking forward to continuing it. I can’t wait for this year.”

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Lou Bezjak is the High School Sports Prep Coordinator for The (Columbia) State and (Hilton Head) Island Packet. He previously worked at the Florence Morning News and had covered high school sports in South Carolina since 2002. Lou is a two-time South Carolina Sports Writer of the Year by the National Sports Media Association.
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