D’Andre Swift
At home – and winning
By Dave Spadaro

It was hard to imagine, late on a Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field – with more than 2 dozen of D’Andre Swift’s family and friends in the stands whooping it up after he ran for a career-high 175 yards and a touchdown – what is was like only 4 months earlier, when Swift experienced something he never felt before: feeling unwanted. 

In fact, the career of D’Andre Swift has always been legend around these parts. He was a high school superstar starting in 9th grade at St. Joe’s Prep. One of the most highly recruited players, Swift played his college football at Georgia and was a dual-purpose threat who was explosive as a running back and a pass catcher. He was a star. Always a star.

After being taken in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft by Detroit, Swift was ready to take it to the highest level. But every time he just about touched the top, something stunted his rise. In his rookie season, it was a concussion and then an “illness.” The next season, groin and shoulder injuries slowed him for more than 2 months. In 2022, Swift opened with 144 yards against the Eagles in Week 1, but suffered a sprained ankle and was never the same again.

That was all the Lions wanted to see from Swift, and they made it clear they intended to revamp the running back position.

“A lot of emotions. A lot of feelings,” Swift said after Detroit traded him to Philadelphia and he could come back home. “I gave everything to Detroit and the Lions. I’m grateful to them. I love them. But…a lot of emotions. Ups and downs. It’s not easy.”

That was an understatement.

The trade spoke to the tenuous nature of career stability in the NFL. You’re either wanted or you’re not, and there really is no in-between. Swift was shipped out, one year remaining on his contract, wearing the poisonous label of “injury prone” and coming home.

So on this opening night of the NFL’s Thursday Night football, when Swift did everything he wanted to do as he shredded the Minnesota Vikings defense in a 34-28 Eagles victory, the feelings of the past were not something he wanted to feel again. He had returned to his hometown with a positive attitude, excited to see his family and friends – and feel what’s it like when dreams come true.

Not that it was easy every step of the way. Swift slept at his parents’ house during the team’s spring practices because he couldn’t find anywhere to live. The cooking was fine, and moms and pops loved every minute of having their son back but…

“It was basically football and go back home and just relax,” he says, laughing. “I felt like a little kid again. It had been a minute since I was home like that. It was cool, though. Good family time. It reminds you what’s important in life.”

Then there was the decision to ask the Eagles for a jersey number and since the NFL granted teams the option for the first time of allowing a player to wear jersey No. 0, Swift asked. 

“Just something different,” he says. “New start on my career. New number. Agent zero.”

The Eagles said yes, and Swift became that guy. The jersey has sold very well – “I know my family and friends bought A LOT of them,” he says. 

With the Eagles’ record at 2-0 [at time of press], winning is something Swift has not experienced much in the NFL – the Lions were 17-32-1 in his 3 seasons there. The bottom line? Winning feels great.

“I know as a fan what it’s like when the Eagles are winning. Everybody is happy. It makes a huge difference for all of us,” Swift says. “The culture of the organization is to win. They went to the Super Bowl last year. They won it before that [in the 2017 season]. We have high expectations, and so to go out and find ways to win, it’s very satisfying.”

South Jersey native Haason Reddick learned in 2022 that you can go home again – and win big. He made the Pro Bowl and was named an All-Pro player after recording 16 quarterback sacks. He then chipped in with 3 ½ more sacks in a playoff run that took the Eagles to Super Bowl LVII. Reddick understood the path, and he shared that with Swift.

“You have to stay focused, of course. There are so many people who want to be your friend, who might not have your best interests at heart. They just want to be part of this,” Reddick says. “Dre understands that. He’s been in the spotlight a long time. He has had people in his community try to share in his success even if they didn’t help him along the way. You gotta keep your circle tight.”

The circle. Number zero. Five days after an Eagles debut during which he was a non-factor with one carry for 3 yards and one reception for a single yard, Swift ran for 175 yards, more than any Eagle since LeSean McCoy in the 2013 season. Swift is looking forward now with a bright vision.

“I honestly believe it’s only going to get better,” he says. “This is a special team and a special place. I couldn’t have asked for anything more than what is happening. I’m part of a great group, and I’m just so excited about it. Lot of work to do. This is a day-to-day business, and it is a business. If you don’t produce, you don’t get your number called.”

Swift is getting his number called. He’s home and he’s hot on a team that is among the league’s best. The past is the past, so D’Andre Swift, home and happy, wades into his crowd of friends and family celebrating the moment.   


Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro has covered every Eagles game since 1987 and is seen and heard throughout the year on television, radio and Eagles coverage everywhere. You can hear his Eagles Live Podcast on iTunes.



October 2023
Related Articles

Comments are closed.


Get SJ Mag in Your Inbox

Subscribe for the latest on South Jersey dining, weekend entertainment, the Shore and much more - sent directly to your inbox.

* indicates required
Email Format
WATCH NOW: Millennials looking for Mentors