Hes appeared on the cover of surfing magazines and has played on the NFLs biggest stage. But for the most part, 49ers receiver Brett Swain flies under the radar.
Pretty neat guy. He comes in, hes down to business, down to earth, knows his stuff and always ready, said teammate Ted Ginn.
Swain came to the 49ers when Joshua Morgan went on injured reserve with a broken leg. The San Diego native beat out T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Chris Chambers, Brian Finneran, Joe Hastings, and John Matthews for the roster spot.
Constant hustle is what we see from Brett, said offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Brett came in, obviously didnt have training camp with us, did a great job. We thought we worked out one of the best group of guys that I have been around during an in-season workout, and he won that workout really and earned his way on the team. He just hustles, hustles, hustles. Very much into precision with his routes, smooth. Hes got good hands. Hes got good quickness. Well be running the ball on right sideline, hell be on the left and hell always end up in the picture, so that jumps off the screen.
Swain appeared in all 20 games for the Super Bowl winning Packers last season, but has mostly remained inactive for the 49ers this season. Swain is one of only two players on the roster that has played in the Super Bowl and has experienced the mindset needed to make a run in the playoffs. So, I asked him about it.
Mindi Bach: The goal in the NFL is to get a Super Bowl ring. You are one of two people in this locker room to have that experience. What is this like for you as you see this team try to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002. What comes to mind for you?
Brett Swain: Well, first of all, you see the same tendencies in this team that you see in a Super Bowl team. I was with the Packers last year. We had a long run, a full season and we had our ups and downs. This season is a little different for me. Ive never been on a team thats been 9 and 2. Were having a great season. We hit a little bump in the road last week, so maybe that was good for us because now we can get back on track and get back on what we need to do to get back into the playoffs and win those games.
Bach: In your short career, is it strange to think you already have a Super Bowl ring and here you are with another team on its way to the playoffs?
Swain: Yea, for sure. It could be luck, it could not be. But I think a staff realizes what players fit good in good teams, and this is a good team. And I feel like when I came here to try out the coaches saw that Id be a good team player and thats what its all about to win Super Bowls - to have a great team, have great chemistry within the locker room and just overall be a great team going into the playoffs.
Bach: Greg Roman says what stood out about you, he was surprised how you out-hustled everybody else. Where did that drive come from?
Swain: Ive kind of had an up and down career myself. I was drafted in the seventh-round to the Packers. I went there, got cut my first year, had to practice squad-it, and luckily I was able to practice with guys that kind of went down the same road. Al Harris is a big guy. He was a defensive back for the Packers for a long time, really taught me how to practice and what it takes to be good in this league and also even try to make a team. He taught me how to practice, taught me how to work out, just taught me how to work and be a professional. And I feel like that was a good stepping-stone to my career. So having that background and then just having the guys that I came from with Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, having a locker room like that pushes you. So when you come here you just kind of bring what youve learned in the past. I think that the experience I have is just working hard and being a professional.
Bach: Have any of the other receivers asked you about that Super Bowl Ring?
Swain: Not yet. I put the Super Bowl ring back in San Diego. I left that back at home. That was the biggest thing for us winning last year was, put it back in the box when the new season starts and leaving it back because there are new goals for the next season and you want to make that same goal and go get another one.
Bach: You are from San Diego, you played at San Diego State. What was your familiarity with Harbaugh before you came to this team?
Swain: He was at USD and I was at San Diego State.
Bach: You didnt play each other, though?
Swain: No, we didnt play each other. We were kind of cross-town rivals. We did little passing leagues in the offseason. I dont think we played them when Harbaugh was there, but as players we're always trying to push for that game. We thought it would be a great competitive game, especially with USD winning as many games as they did, to get a D-1, D-2 game going. We really wanted it as players it just didnt work out. We thought it was great to see another San Diego team winning. We werent winning at the same time so we we're kind of jealous a little bit. That is what we we're familiar with Harbaugh. And being from San Diego I watched him growing up. He was with the Chargers for a season, and actually that season I had season tickets. I was there every Sunday watching Harbaugh play and its good to be with a guy that kind of understands that.