D'Andre Swift spent his first NFL season taking hand-offs from Matthew Stafford, the Lions' quarterback of 12 years. Now, after just one year together, the offensive duo has been split apart, with Detroit reportedly set to trade Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams at the official start of the 2021 offseason. Swift, who figures to return with an even bigger role as Detroit's top running back, is confident his ex-teammate will thrive on the West Coast, telling CBS Sports on Wednesday that Los Angeles is getting a "warrior."
"I think L.A. is getting a great leader," says Swift, who's working with Panini America to finish signing his 2020 rookie cards. "A great person, first and foremost. He's a warrior, a competitor. I think he's gonna be great for them."
As for his Lions? The 22-year-old Swift says he's excited to work with Jared Goff, the Rams' former No. 1 pick who's set to come to Detroit as part of the Stafford deal. Swift watched Goff play in L.A. and thinks he can be a "great quarterback" in Detroit's new regime, which is headlined by first-time head coach Dan Campbell.
"His passion for the game is evident," Swift says of his new coach. "He wants to change the city around ... I've talked to him one time, and I could feel the intensity. He's all about his business."
The Lions haven't been to the playoffs in five years, and Campbell's arrival likely spells another rebuilding phase for Detroit, which hasn't won a postseason game since 1991. But Swift, who led Lions backs in scrimmage yards (878) and touchdowns (10) as a second-round rookie out of Georgia, doesn't think it's out of the question Detroit could surprise sooner rather than later.
"It's never too early to aim for something you want," he says when asked if playoff hopes are premature.
As for his own role moving forward, Swift says he's "not expecting anything" in regards to a potential promotion to full-time running back duties. In fact, if it were up to him, he says he'd prefer that Adrian Peterson, who'll turn 36 shortly after hitting free agency this offseason, returns to the Lions in 2021.
"I definitely want him back," he says, noting that he "picked his brain" throughout his rookie year.
For a first-year player, Swift produced well in 2020, logging at least 10 carries and three catches in five games during the second half of the season. (He also quietly enjoyed seeing himself in a Lions uniform on those Panini cards, saying he got into trading cards during his college days.) But he's intent on upping his fitness regimen ahead of his second season, admitting his rookie year had more physical demands than he expected.
"One thing I did learn is you gotta do extra," he says. "Not just practice. Practice alone was not enough, at least for me ... It takes much more in the NFL than in college."