After the schedule was released last week, several new Redskins could begin preparing for when they will face their previous team and discussed how they will feel on gameday.
The Washington Redskins schedule was released last week, solidifying the times and dates of each opponent this season. It finally gave players – as well as media members and fans of the team – the chance to plan ahead, many for their family and friends, and schedule out the fall and winter.
For the newest members of the team, particularly several free agent signings, the list of opponents will be quite personal. Four additions to the Reskins this offseason – D.J. Swearinger, Brian Quick, Stacy McGee and Terrell McClain -- will play against their previous team in 2017, perhaps opening old wounds and providing another wrinkle in their decision to sign elsewhere.
These kinds of rematches happen frequently now that players often move so freely between contracts, but they still remain strange for those who will face off with players they once called teammates. Here's how they are thinking about their upcoming matchups after the schedule was released.
D.J. Swearinger, safety, played with Cardinals for two seasons
Swearinger will enter his sixth season in the NFL playing for his fourth different team after the best season of his career. After playing four games for the Cardinals in 2015, he returned to play a full season and compiled 66 tackles, two sacks, eight passes defensed and three interceptions.
"You don't want to say payback. Everything happens for a reason," Swearinger said. "They didn't sign me back for their reasons, and I'm just glad I get a chance to play them, see some of my old coaches, see some of the old players and, you know, really show them what they missed."
The safety expects his former teammates to try to exploit his weaknesses, but Swearinger is confident he'll be 10 times better than the player they saw last year.
"It will definitely be an emotional game," he said. "But being a pro and learning over my years, you can't get too emotional for any game, and you've got to treat it just like any other game. I will be studying extra hard that week and preparing a little harder for that week."
Brian Quick, wide receiver, played with Rams for five seasons
The Redskins play the Rams in the second game of the season, a quick reunion for Quick, who has played with the organization for his whole five-year career and was a part of the move from St. Louis to Los Angeles.
The Redskins will also have their own reunion when they meet former offensive coordinator Sean McVay, now the Rams' head coach, dressed in blue and white on the opposing sideline.
"Going back and playing them, it's going to be, I don't know how to word this. Let me put it this way: I am going to be ready when I play them," Quick said. "I'm going to make sure that I'm ready to play because your emotions get involved because those were the guys you have been playing with for five years. From that and moving here I am excited to play with these guys, too. This team, the locker room is great and I see how they come together and how they are as a team but when I play the Rams I'm going to come with it."
Stacy McGee, defensive line, played with Raiders for four seasons
Like Quick, McGee has only ever played for one team before. Coming off a year in which he collected 17 tackles, with a career-high 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Also like Quick, McGee will face his team very early in the season, a Sunday Night Football matchup on Week 3.
"I feel pretty good. It's exciting to play the whole team," McGee said. "Been with them for four years, so I never really got to see what it would feel like to play them, and eventually you've got to face everybody, so it will be fun.
"I had a really good experience in Oakland,"he added. "I loved the city, the town, the fans, all the coaches, they were real supportive and it helped me a lot. Built good relationships with the players and coaches, so it will be exciting to see them on the opposite sideline."
Terrell McClain, defensive line, played with Cowboys for three seasons
McClain admitted that the Cowboys-Redskins matchups, while never fully experiencing a real rivalrous relationship, always had more electricity. Now, he will face his former team of the last three years and get the opposite end of the rivalry.
Still, there is no contentiousness when it comes to his previous employer.
"I know I've been there for the last three years but, a lot of people look at it as, when players play their former team, they feel like they have to go in the mindset of saying you have to prove yourself," McClain said. "It's not going to be like. I'm going to have fun. I have no bad blood between anybody in the organization, I mean it's a great organization, I loved every minute I was there. For me, I'm just going to be out there having fun."
"I'm close with the whole team. It's just going to be different in that I've been practicing against that O-line for the last three years, now I've got to go out and play against them. It's going to be a different intensity level for a good 50-60 reps, I just can't get away from them."
As for still playing on Thanksgiving this season?
"I just can't get away from it," he said.