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Tuesday, December 25, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Well, now the Washington Redskins players know how to escape the asylum.

It’s not by getting arrested for slugging someone on the streets of Ashburn at 2 a.m.


And apparently, it’s not by being accused of beating a woman. Heck, that gets you in the waiting room.

No — the way to escape the madness of Redskins Park is by telling the world how bad things are.

Who knew honesty would be so rewarded by this organization?

Safety and football genius D.J. Swearinger was released by the team on Christmas Eve after his latest diatribe against the fans … no, wait a minute, I’m getting his outrages confused … against the coaches, this one a very specific criticism of Redskins defensive coordinator Greg Manusky following the team’s 25-16 loss to the Tennessee Titans last Saturday.

“Make him (Titans backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert) beat us,” he said. “Make him, OK. No. He’s going to pick you off. If it’s man (coverage), three by one, he’s going backside every time. A kindergarten quarterback can know that, man. But I’m not the D-coordinator, bro.”

That would be Manusky — hired by the head coach, Jay Gruden.

Someone asked Swearinger if he had spoken to Manusky about these issues.

“I voice my frustrations every single time I come off the field,” Swearinger said.

And in case no one was listening then, Swearinger told reporters every chance he got — too many times for Gruden and Redskins officials. The coach called Swearinger into his office Monday and told him to pack his bags. He was gone.

I’ll bet it was like when Red was released from prison in “The Shawshank Redemption.” “I think it is the excitement only a free man can feel,” Red said.

If he wasn’t careful, Swearinger could have been in danger of running out of coaching staffs to criticize. Washington was his fourth team in six NFL seasons and now he’ll soon join his fifth after being claimed off waivers Tuesday by the Arizona Cardinals. Even though he’ll be returning to the Cardinals, Swearinger likely talked his way out of a few other places in the league. But he has talent, and is a football genius. Just ask him.

“I’m a vocal guy, a passionate guy that wants to win and, you know, if the coaches feel like I’m too smart or I’m a weapon as far as my smarts are concerned, and to knowing what things are going wrong,” Swearinger told 106.7 The Fan Monday, just minutes after he learned he was cut. “They’ve got to release the guy that, you know, has knowledge or has, you know, respect in the locker room.”

I know Swearinger may feel like a victim, but, let’s face it, he brought this on himself. You can’t publicly rip your bosses over and over without consequences.

Releasing him was likely the most severe consequence the Redskins thought they could hand out.

But if they’d really wanted to punish him, they should have made him stay with this organization.

For some NFL teams, cutting a player who criticizes staff can be seen as a message — an indication of a confident, functional organization. A signal that no one player is more important than the team, a bright red line that says those who break the organization’s rules will be held accountable.

For the Redskins, of course, any such interpretation is far-fetched, if not downright comical — especially in light of the long list of transgressions and embarrassments the organization has ignored, or tolerated, or even committed itself.

Critics pointed out, rightly so, that Redskins linebacker Mason Foster said far worse about the fan base and the organization in his Instagram messages. His only mistake was that he thought they were confidential between himself and a fan (not a Swearinger-style genius there).

Then there is Reuben Foster, the anchor that the Redskins attached themselves after the San Francisco 49ers cut him following his second domestic violence arrest and spending the night in a Tampa jail. He may not play for the Washington Redskins — Foster is on the commissioner’s exempt list pending the outcome of the charges in Tampa — but he is a Washington Redskin now. And D.J. Swearinger is not.

That’s a message, all right.

Hear Thom Loverro on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings and on the Kevin Sheehan Show podcast every Tuesday and Thursday.


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