Even with the crutches, Swan would do it all over
And yet, when he spoke to the media for the first time since sustaining a college career-ending hamstring injury Oct. 6 at Illinois, Swan said he has no regrets.
“If you would have told me that, after a year and a half of playing, I’d end up with a season-ending injury, I (still) would have said, ‘Where do I sign up?’ ” Swan said. “I would have come back and done it all over again.
“It’s been a great experience. I don’t regret anything.”
Swan has had a pretty incredible career, considering he entered the UW program as a walk-on out of Fennimore High School. He finished with 60 receptions for 1,046 yards and seven touchdowns, but Swan is most proud of receiving a scholarship and being named a captain for 2007.
“I came in as a walk-on and really didn’t have any expectations from the outside world,” Swan said. “I really didn’t expect a whole lot, other than playing a little bit of third receiver or something like that.”
Before Wisconsin played Northern Illinois two weeks ago, UW coach Bret Bielema allowed Swan to give a pregame speech, which many Badgers said was extremely moving.
“I just told them to imagine, if they knew beforehand it was going to be their last play, how would you play differently,” Swan said. “How would your intensity change? How would your technique be? Would it be perfect?
“You’d play your most perfect play. So just harness that, and take it into that game.”
When he spoke with reporters, Swan still was using crutches and wore a plastic brace around his left leg. He said he should be off the crutches in three weeks, at which time he’ll start rehab and try to begin football activity in six months.
“The hamstring doesn’t really hurt a lot,” Swan said. “The surgery was very much a success. Doctors are saying everything’s healing up like it’s supposed to. Things are looking good now.”
If rehab goes well, Swan still has aspirations to participate in any NFL camp next spring.
“If I’m given that chance, I’d love to take it and run with it,” said Swan, who added he’d also consider Arena Football or other leagues. “I’m not exactly sure what the future holds, but I’m excited for it.
“I feel like I have some football left in my legs, and really have a passion for the game,” he said. “I’m going to give it every shot that I can.”
Even if Swan doesn’t find his way onto a football field after graduation in May, he’s got a football-related Plan B: Coaching.
The injury has even given Swan a chance to be on the sideline and act as a student-coach for young Badger receivers like Kyle Jefferson and David Gilreath.
“It’s an opportunity to sit back and see if I really enjoy this coaching thing,” Swan said. “I’ve talked to coach Bielema about possibly being a graduate assistant here, and moving up from there.”
Bielema has no doubt Swan would be a successful coach.
“I can see him being a very good football coach,” Bielema said Thursday. “A lot of times, your coaches come from guys that were walk-on guys, that know how to try hard and really understand the game conceptually.”
Bielema, a University of Iowa football walk-on, can speak from experience on that.
Meanwhle, Swan has one immediate goal—to walk onto the field at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday against Michigan as part of Senior Day ceremonies in his last home game.
“It’ll be special for all of us,” Swan said of the senior class. “I’ve been here for five years and really love this place. You really look forward to that.”