Kevin Byard and D’Andre Swift react to signing with Bears
Kamil Krzaczynski - USA Today Sports

Kevin Byard and D’Andre Swift react to signing with Bears

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - The Bears are making a lot of free agent moves, and two of their key additions, safety Kevin Byard and running back D’Andre Swift, addressed the media in Chicago for the first time on March 14 to discuss their excitement about being with the Bears.

Byard is a veteran player who was elected to the Pro Bowl and selected as an All-Pro in 2017 and 2021. He has had at least one interception every year since 2017, including eight that season, a league-high. He spent most of his career with the Tennessee Titans before being traded mid-season to the Philadelphia Eagles last year.

His acquisition fills the void left by the release of safety Eddie Jackson, who was previously the veteran leader of the secondary.

“I think at this point, it’s all about service—serving this team, serving this community, and obviously, serving some of these guys in the locker room as much as I can,” Byard said. “I want to be that second coach on the field, that communicator on the backend.”

Another benefit with Byard is that in his eight seasons in the NFL, he has never missed a practice, nor an NFL game, due to injury, a truly remarkable feat. Acquiring a player with that kind of consistent health and viability is vital for Chicago’s secondary to build chemistry and show what they are truly capable of, something they could not do last season.

However, the second half of the season showed that the Bears defense is a strong defense that can certainly cause teams problems next season.

“I think we have the pieces, but it’s all about putting it together. Last year’s success doesn’t dictate this year’s success at all. So, I’m excited about the guys that we do have,” Byard said. “But at the end of the day, we have to go out there and put the work in and come together and bond together.”

In a bit of a surprise, the Bears were the first team to acquire a player in free agency. The surprise was not that they were trying to build their franchise by adding more pieces in free agency, nor was it a surprise that they were going after a running back. The surprise came from the fact they were not signing one of the premiere running backs available in free agency, instead electing to sign former Detroit Lions and Eagles back D’Andre Swift to a three-year, $24 million contract.

Swift, who played one season with Bears quarterback Justin Fields, is a huge fan of Fields and believes he has yet to reach his peak.

“I’ve always been a Justin Fields fan from Georgia when he was in high school,” Swift said. “I feel like he hasn’t even touched the ceiling on who he can be. So, I’m excited to see him keep going.”

With D’Onta Foreman departing Chicago in free agency, Swift joins the running back room with Khalil Herbert and Roschon Johnson. Swift will most likely be the predominant back since neither Herbert nor Johnson truly excelled last season.

“It’s a great running back room, was real familiar with it before I got here. A lot of talent in the running back room … I’m going to come here and earn whatever role that they have for me,” Swift said. “I know the amount of work I put in, so I’m comfortable saying I can do everything.”

His first three seasons with the Lions were rather uneventful, barely eclipsing 500 rushing yards each season. However, he did have a lot of receiving yards and had multiple receiving touchdowns each year in Detroit. With the Eagles, his role changed a bit as he had over 1,000 rushing yards but barely over 200 receiving yards and only one receiving touchdown. Still, it marked his first Pro Bowl season and was probably the main reason Chicago picked him up. The Bears will hope Swift will have that kind of season once again.

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