D'Andre Swift knows nothing in this league is given, and everything is earned. That's the attitude the young Detroit Lions second-year running back has after Wednesday's first practice of the training camp acclimation period.
"My mental approach is the same," Swift said. "I'm not expecting nothing and working for everything. Whatever role they see fit for me is the role I've earned."
The Lions and new offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn are hoping the role Swift carves out for himself turns out to be a big one.
Swift was just the eighth player in NFL history to accumulate at least 500 rushing yards, eight rushing touchdowns, 350 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns within his first 13 career games last year as a rookie. That was after missing most of training camp with an injury and the team taking it pretty slow with him and limiting his touches early on.
Fast forward one year and it's a completely different feel for Swift. He wasn't the bright-eyed rookie taking second reps to an established veteran. Swift was taking first-team reps, and there's a bit of a swagger that comes with him knowing he has a chance to be a really big part of this offense both as a runner and pass catcher.
We typically see a big jump in production for players heading into their second offseason after gaining a year's worth of experience as a rookie and being able to prepare their bodies for the next year of actual game experience.
Swift said he worked hard this offseason to become a better all-around player, and is excited to see where that might take him and the Lions' run game this season.
"I'm smarter on the field. My knowledge of football," Swift said after being asked how he's a better football player to start his second season. "My overall strength. I feel explosive. My speed. My overall body strength."
When it comes to goals, Swift said he just wants the team to have better success, and he wants to be an improved player in every aspect of the game.
Swift has looked really good so far this offseason, especially in the passing game. Next week, when the pads come on, we'll start to see the running side of things, but early on, there's a lot of excitement in Allen Park about the player Detroit might have in Swift. Now it's up to him to earn a big role.