On Wednesday, Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell made it clear he had no plans to shut down running back D’Andre Swift for the final two games of the season, despite the fact that the second-year player has missed the last four games with a shoulder injury.
“I think we feel like we’re in a place where—let’s go, let’s cut him loose, and let’s let him continue to grow and get better,” Campbell said. “That way we go into next year, he’s that much better for it.”
To Campbell, it’s clear Swift—who has only played 24 games in his young career—has plenty to learn and room to grow, and even though there are only two games left, there’s no reason to let that opportunity go to waste.
Later in the day, Swift himself took the podium and explained why it was so important to him to return to the field, despite the Lions being well out of the playoff race.
“God put me on this Earth for football, to play football, to affect people around me,” Swift said. “I love the game so much, so any opportunity I have, whether it’s two games, one game, losing record, winning record, I’m going to do my best to just have my foot out there and just play for my teammates, for my brothers. I just love the game so much.”
Before his shoulder injury, Swift was on a roll. In Week 10, he set a career-high with 130 rushing yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The very next week, he broke that record with 136 rushing yards against the Cleveland Browns. While Swift was out, the Lions run game continued to see success, and the passing game also saw significant improvement. For Swift, that only adds to the excitement of his return.
“Seeing them just get better along the season, each week, guys like (Amon-Ra) St. (Brown) everybody, the whole offense, the whole team,” Swift said. “I feel like we’ve been coming closer in these last couple weeks.”
But perhaps most motivating of all for Swift is his desire to win. Detroit picked up their first two wins of the season with Swift on the bench, and now he wants a taste.
“First and foremost, I want to be able to experience a win with this team. I haven’t experienced one with them this season.”
Luckily for Swift, it looks like he’s finally ready to return. On Wednesday, he had his first full participation at practice since Thanksgiving.
“We feel like he’s going to be ready to go this week, and he’s been wanting to go,” Campbell said.