Game against Texans is personal for Bucs safety D.J. Swearinger

TAMPA, Fla. -- D.J. Swearinger is eager for his chance at redemption against the Houston Texans.

"You think about it every day," the Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety said Wednesday. "You think about the team giving up on you. Whatever the case came down to being, the team still gave up on you after you've been there for a couple years."

Swearinger placed a big, bold circle around the date for Sunday's game in Houston, which will serve as a reunion and an opportunity to show his former team what he can do.

"Yeah, I circled it right away," he said. "As soon as I saw Game 3, people asked me, 'What game [do] you want?' All of them really, but especially Game 3. It's going to be a big game for me. Hopefully, we can get the win."

The Texans drafted Swearinger in the second round, 57th overall, in 2013. Tampa Bay claimed him off waivers on May 12, after Houston waived him a day earlier. He started 22 of 32 games in his time with the Texans, totaling 140 tackles, 10 passes defensed and three interceptions.

His time in Houston wasn't always smooth. He reportedly bristled at the prospect of playing special teams, and he announced his departure from the franchise in an Instagram post before the Texans were ready to make the move official.

Looking back, Swearinger said the Texans' transition from former coaches Gary Kubiak and Wade Phillips to Bill O'Brien before the 2014 season contributed to his departure.

"Different coaches have their own opinion about players, and he had his own opinion about me," Swearinger said, referring to O'Brien. "So hopefully, I can just go and help my team get a win."

O'Brien, for his part, was complimentary of Swearinger when asked about him during a conference call with Tampa Bay media on Wednesday, saying, "He's a good competitor. Guy that showed up every day and worked hard."

Despite his departure from Houston, Swearinger said he keeps in touch with most of the defensive backs there. He also called Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, his college teammate at South Carolina, "my boy."

But one closed door has led to another opening. Swearinger has six tackles and one fumble recovery with Tampa Bay. He's confident more production is on the way.

"I feel like I adjusted well," Swearinger said. "I have a whole lot of things to get better on. But you know, we have a long season. [I'm] just steadily improving and just trying to get consistency about myself and this team.

"I believe everything happens for a reason. There's a reason that I came here. There's a reason that they let me [go]. You've got to make the most out of it. And that's what I'm doing."

He'll try to do it Sunday without looking in the rear-view mirror.