Pro Kats Series: cornerback Daxton Swanson, Fueled by Family & Full of Heart

Bearkat football alum cornerback Daxton Swanson has had to deal with adversity throughout his entire three-year NFL career.

Since jumping to the professional level in 2013, Swanson has struggled to find a home as he has played for a total of seven different NFL teams, with his most recent team, the Dallas Cowboys, waiving him late Monday night.

“It is definitely hard to bounce around from place to place, especially when you have a family, but at the same time it is fun,” Swanson said. “I get to live in different cities and meet new people. It definitely has its ups and downs, but I know this opportunity is hard to come around.”

Swanson prides himself on being humble, and even though he has not found a stable home in the NFL, he is determined and is willing to do anything to get better in order to support his family.

“Having two kids motivates you more because you want to be successful for them,” Swanson said. “They make me want to work harder and they make me want to do whatever I can to support them. My children bring the best out of me.”

Throughout his three-year career Swanson has played for the Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins and the Dallas Cowboys.

“No matter where I am at, just having the chance to play professional football is incredible,” Swanson said. “I am going to play until my body says I cannot play anymore.”

Swanson’s path to the NFL started with collegiate football at Toledo University in 2009. He started 10 games for the Rockets and led the team in pass breakups with seven. Swanson then decided to transfer to Sam Houston State in 2011 so he would be closer to home.

The bold decision to move from an FBS to an FCS school paid off as Swanson left his mark at Elliott T. Bowers Stadium. He graduated from SHSU in 2013 as the school’s all-time leader in interceptions with 14 and as an All-Southland first teamer.

“It was a great place to be, and it was fun to have that college atmosphere,” Swanson said. “The things we did at SHSU as far as athletics, it was fun, and I have moments that I will always cherish. I still keep in touch with a lot of my Bearkat teammates and friends. The bonds I made throughout my college years are still continuing on to this day.”

Swanson’s high level of play as a Bearkat drew interest from scouts around the NFL. He worked hard in preparation for the NFL Combine, but was unable to showcase his skills as he tweaked his right hamstring two weeks prior to the event.

“I entered the 2013 NFL Draft so I was training in Naples, Florida, to get ready for the Combine,” Swanson said. “I was running a 40-yard dash and I pulled my hamstring and I could not recover for awhile. I tried to run my 40-yard dash during the Combine, but with me not being 100 percent, I messed it up again.”

Right from the get-go Swanson’s NFL journey has been a rollercoaster ride. Since he tweaked his hamstring before the Combine, he ended up going undrafted.

Swanson got his first taste of professional action when he signed with the Indianapolis Colts in 2013 as an undrafted free agent. He messed up the same hamstring in the last preseason game, which forced the Colts to place him on the injured reserve.

He was later released from the team.

“I still ended up where I needed to be and I cannot regret that,” Swanson said. “Everything happens for a reason.”

The current high point of Swanson’s career was when he signed with the New England Patriots in 2014. He joined one of the league’s top tier teams and grew as a player under future hall of fame coach Bill Belichick.

By the end of the 2014 season Swanson found himself wearing a Super Bowl ring.

“I cannot even describe the feeling and the atmosphere of Super Bowl XLIX,” Swanson said. “It was a good game throughout, but the way it ended, it was one of the best. It is was so fun.”

The Patriots matched up against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. The Seahawks were looking for a repeat championship, but fell just short as the game ended in stunning fashion. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson led his team down the field on the final drive, and with 23 seconds left, threw an interception to Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler.

“They were driving down the field and I was trying to stay positive,” Swanson said. “But when Malcolm made that pick on the goal line, the entire sideline went crazy. It was an exciting feeling.”

Like Swanson, Butler was also an undrafted cornerback. The unexpected hero of Super Bowl XLIX and the former Bearkat relate to each other.

“I was very happy for Butler when he got the interception,” Swanson said. “He finally got his opportunity to play that game and he did great. He is one of my good friends and we always talk. Us being the younger guys on the Patriots, and coming in as free agents, we had a lot in common so we just clicked from day one.”

Although Swanson is currently a free agent, he still tries to learn and take pointer from veteran players in hopes of one day finding a steady team to call home.

“I definitely try to get mentors, from the younger guys to the older guys,” Swanson said. “Everyone at this level can help each other out in different ways. I try to learn from everybody.”

An added bonus of hopping around from team to team is that Swanson has had the opportunity to play in a variety of different defensive schemes. He has also had the chance to learn from some of the best corners in the league.

“I have been fortunate to be around some great corners like Darrelle Revis, Vontae Davis and Tramaine Brock,” Swanson said. “I try to learn how they take care of their bodies, what they do as far as watching film and what they do technique wise that has helped them be successful.”

The NFL is a cutthroat business. Not everyone can play for one team for 10 years and it is difficult to find the correct footing, especially as an undrafted player. Swanson’s NFL journey has not been an ideal one, but he is forever grateful to have the opportunity to play professional football.

“My journey has been fun, and even though it is not an ideal one, the NFL is not made for everybody,” Swanson said. “I have taken everything with a grain of salt and have enjoyed the experience. Everybody has their own road and journey to take in this world, and this is mine. God did not put anything on me that he knew I could not handle and I have always kept a positive mentality throughout my whole NFL situation. I am going to continue to work hard and get better to try and be the best player I can be in this league.”

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