The decision to wear the number zero has multiple meanings for D’Andre Swift. Not only he is the first player in Philadelphia Eagles’ franchise history to rock the goose egg, Swift is one of only 12 players in the NFL to ever wear it after a rule change was passed in late March.
The 24-year-old running back wasn’t seeking to break any barriers when he first asked the equipment staff to fit him for a No. 0 jersey. Swift, who was acquired from Detroit in a draft-day trade, just saw it as the best number available. And a fitting way to hit the reset button on his young career, especially as the Philly native joined his hometown team.
“Originally it was just the best number available at that point in time but it’s kind of cool now that I have a fresh start with the number zero,” Swift told me. “Like I said, this is the first year players are allowed to wear it and I’ll be the first person ever to put it on an Eagles jersey. And, being that I’m from here, it has a little more value to it.”
Swift has also partnered with Pepsi Zero Sugar on their “Official Zero of the NFL” campaign for the 2023 season. The company kicked off its #TeamZero contest (click here to enter) on August 9 and it runs through September 17. Fans can win one of the 100 available No. 0 jerseys, plus tickets to games throughout the year. Pepsi is also giving fans the opportunity to create a custom jersey if their favorite team doesn’t have a player repping No. 0. Remember, the Eagles proposed the rule change to loosen the constraints of the NFL’s numbering system.
“Me and Pepsi Zero Sugar are looking to do a lot of cool stuff throughout the season as far as giveaways for jerseys,” Swift said. “Being this is the first year the NFL is allowing players to wear the number zero, we want to give away some zero jerseys to the fans throughout the season as well as give out some tickets to the fans who have not been to a game before. So we got a lot of cool stuff going on throughout the season.”
Eagles RB D’Andre Swift is a hometown hero
It’s not every day that a high school football team gets to meet their heroes at training camp, let alone two guys that played for their prep school. Yet that’s what happened at Eagles practice on August 3 when D’Andre Swift and Olamide Zaccheaus posed for pictures with members of the Saint Joseph’s Prep squad.
Swift and Zaccheaus are living out their childhood dreams by suiting up for the professional squad they cheered for growing up. That doesn’t happen often, if at all.
“It’s a blessing, man, just to be able to come back to the city where you grew up and where a lot of good things happened,” Swift said. “Just to be able to have the opportunity to play in your hometown, it’s amazing. I appreciate the support and the love, plus you get to be close to your family, it’s amazing.”
I asked Swift what advice he might give to himself a decade ago before his dream of playing in the NFL became a reality. Humbled and contemplative, Swift replied: “Just continue to work, be different, you gotta dream and have aspirations, whether it’s football or not, just go hard at it.”
Originally a second-round pick (35th overall) of the Lions in 2020, Swift has a bright future ahead of him despite a surprise trade to the Eagles in the offseason. He has taken the high road whenever asked about the Lions’ decision to move on from him. It’s the same advice he would have given himself back in high school.
“I feel like you gotta go through stuff to get to stuff,” Swift said. “Just go to work. Whatever your goals or aspirations for what you want to do in life, go 100 [percent] at it. You don’t want to have no regrets. You want to be able to say I gave my all.”
Eagles Expectations: Super Bowl or Bust?
Don’t mention the word Super Bowl to any player in the Eagles‘ locker room. They aren’t ready to look that far ahead after turning the page on last season’s crushing loss. It’s a new year, with a slightly rebuilt roster. D’Andre Swift admitted to having high expectations as he gets set to make his Philly debut, but he’s not booking any flights to Las Vegas.
“Hopefully we make it to where they made it last year but we’re on the other side of that,” Swift said. “We’re going to take it one day at a time, though, just keep putting the work in each day. I feel like with the guys that we got in the room, offensively and defensively, we can do whatever we want to do.”
Swift is projected to be the Eagles’ starting running back in Week 1 despite Nick Sirianni’s commitment to spreading the backfield reps evenly throughout training camp. If he does have the edge over Rashaad Penny and Kenny Gainwell, the hometown hero isn’t saying.
“Can’t really call it with that,” Swift said. “Just kind of taking it one day at a time and going out there and having fun with it, competing, and then the coaches make their decisions.”
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