D.J. Swearinger ready for fresh start with Buccaneers

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety D.J. Swearinger wants to set the record straight.

There were reports that he made noise about not wanting to play special teams in Houston and that’s why he was released by the Texans.

“That’s totally not true,’’ Swearinger said. “I played special teams there and I’ll be playing special teams here, for the record. That’s totally not what happened and I’m just ready to be a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.’’

A second-round draft pick in 2013, Swearinger fell out of favor in Houston for whatever reason. But the Bucs, who hold the first claim on players on waivers, quickly grabbed him.

“We feel like we picked up a draft pick, really, by getting a player like that,’’ coach Lovie Smith said. “He can play the run. Good instincts. Smart. Everything you want to see a guy be able to do running around in underwear he’s been able to do. His strong suit is supposed to be when he gets in pads. We like him being on the team.’’

The Bucs like Swearinger so much that he was working with the first team at strong safety during Thursday’s OTA (organized team activity). He’s expected to compete with Bradley McDougald, Major Wright and Chris Conte for a starting job in training camp.

Swearinger didn’t want to dwell on what happened in Houston. Instead, he’s focused on the future.

“It most definitely is a fresh start,’’ Swearinger said. “It’s a fresh start that I needed. It’s a fresh start that I’m happy with. I’m just looking forward to getting better every day.’’