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In Role Of Enforcer, D.J. Swearinger Ready To Earn Respect


Bringing a big-hit mentality with him to the Redskins, D.J. Swearinger says he'll give it his all every play for a defensive backfield that also includes high school teammate Josh Norman.

Even though D.J. Swearinger has played for three different teams during his first four NFL seasons, the safety always thought about one day potentially playing for the same team that Sean Taylor played for during his time in the NFL.

That dream became a reality on Friday, as the Washington Redskins announced that they have signed Swearinger.

"I'm blessed and so ready for this opportunity to follow my idol Sean Taylor," Swearinger said on "Redskins Nation." "Its huge footsteps but I want to pick up where he left off."

"I used to watch him with Ed Reed and all those guys in the secondary. A lot of those Miami guys I grew up watching. [His] rookie year was my freshman year and he had No. 36 so I got 36, which is actually a family number that my dad and uncle wore. The No. 36 has stuck with me since then. I was a quarterback wearing No. 36 after our quarterback got hurt."

While Swearinger admitted that he was little bit worried about where his career was going to go after playing for the Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Houston Texans, all in just four years, he quickly found a new place to call home with the Redskins.

"I just figured Washington would be a good fit for me," Swearinger said. "When my agent gave me the call I was so happy that it was Washington and I said 'let's do it.'"

For his career, the 5-foot-10, 205 pounder has recorded 229 tackles along with 19 passes defensed, six interceptions, five fumbles forced and three sacks.

Check out photos of the Redskins' 2017 free agents signing their contracts at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park.

After splitting the 2015 season between the Buccaneers and Cardinals, recording career lows across the board in all statistical categories, the 2013 second-round pick out of South Carolina experienced a bounce back season in 2016.

He appeared in all 16 regular season games with 12 starts, collecting 66 tackles along with career highs in passes defensed (eight), interceptions (three) and sacks (two).

Now in Washington, the 25-year-old believes he can carry over that strong performance with his new team.

With Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland manning the starting cornerback spots and the athletic Su'a Cravens poised for bigger and better things in his sophomore season, Swearinger wants to be the big hitter in the defensive backfield.

"They are going to see an enforcer that demands respect in the middle of the field," Swearinger said. "Someone who is going to give you a 100 percent on every play and never take a day off. "

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