D’Andre Swift won’t need surgery; Dan Campbell doesn’t ‘want to go to any funerals’

Detroit Free Press

D’Andre Swift played most of this season with ankle and shoulder injuries, but the third-year Detroit Lions running back said he will not require surgery this offseason.

“Long year,” Swift told the Free Press during locker room cleanout Monday. “Just blessed to be able to go out there and compete with the guys week in and week out and just contribute any way I could. Proud of the way we fought throughout the whole year. To end like how we did meant the world.”

Swift said he plans to meet with “a couple doctors” about his injuries in the coming weeks, but is operating under the assumption he will return to full health with time off.

Swift suffered a high ankle sprain in the first half of the Lions’ season-opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, then separated his left shoulder two weeks later in a loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

After rushing for a career-high 144 yards on 15 carries in the opener, Swift’s production dipped dramatically over the final 16 games. He averaged a career-best 5.5 yards per carry for the season, but missed three games around the Lions’ October bye week, had a career-low 99 carries and spent the final two months playing as a complementary piece to Jamaal Williams.

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Swift finished the season on a high note, running for 78 yards (his second-highest total of the season) in a Week 17 win over the Chicago Bears and catching a season-high seven passes for 61 yards in Sunday’s win over the Green Bay Packers.

But he said he still was bothered by a shoulder injury that limited what he could do in the weight room all year.

“It was kind of just pushing through it,” he said. “I feel like I was at a standstill with it, just had to make it work the best way I could.”

The Lions will be in the market for running back help this offseason with Swift entering the final year of his rookie contract and Williams and Justin Jackson ticketed for unrestricted free agency. Swift said he hopes the Lions re-sign Williams, who had a team-leading and career-high 1,066 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns this season.

“(He) helps the whole team, especially with the type of guy, his energy, his work ethic and everything he’s able to accomplish this year,” Swift said. “Can’t be more proud of the guy like that. Just happy for him. He deserves everything.”

As for his offseason plans, Swift said he’ll be back working out once his body heals and he gets the all-clear from doctors with an eye on being more consistently productive in 2023.

“I play a violent game and I know that, but things I can’t control is things I can’t control,” he said. “All I can do is respond and I feel like I did that. With the cards I was dealt early on, playing through a high ankle and the whole season with a separated shoulder, just doing what I can week in and week out, like I said, I’m blessed to be able to do that but get time off, get back, reset, let everything heal up and just come back ready to go.”

‘No funerals’

Asked what his parting message to his team was Monday, Campbell said he told players to “be smart and be safe.”

“I don’t want to go to any funerals,” he said. “None of us do, so that’s the message, and in the meantime, we’ll be getting a hold of our guys, our coaches. We’ll stay in touch. They know, too. They’ll stay in touch with us, but it’s really as simple as that, man. Be smart. It’s not worth it. Trouble starts, go the other way, all those things, and that’s really it right now.”

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The Lions can begin their offseason program in a little over three months, with formal workouts on April 17.

Quarterback Jared Goff said he expects a heightened focus by players this offseason given how the Lions finished the season, by winning eight of their final 10 games and just missing the playoffs.

“Dan said it and I’ve said it, like our standards remain the same and our expectations continue to rise, but our standards can go up, too,” Goff said. “Like how we hold each other accountable and what we’re expecting of each other, what OTAs, we want that to look like and training camp. It’s going to be much more intentional, I believe. At least from the players’ aspect. I know the coaches are going to be always intentional, but we’re going to know what we have and what we have thr potential to do, and it’s a much different feeling than trying to figure that out.”

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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