Swinton replaced by rookie as top returner

Originally Published: September 30, 2003
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Committed to rookie Zuriel Smith as their primary kickoff return man, the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday traded veteran Reggie Swinton to the Green Bay Packers for a conditional 2004 draft choice, ESPN.com has learned.

The pick is believed to be a seventh-rounder.

 Reggie Swinton
Swinton

A third-year veteran who had averaged 24.1 yards per kickoff return in his first two seasons, Swinton became expendable when coach Bill Parcells settled on Smith as his No. 1 return man. Smith was a sixth-round draft choice this year.

Swinton, 28, has been engaged in trade talks for a little more than a week. The Packers have sought to upgrade their return position since losing Allen Rossum to Atlanta as an undrafted free agent last summer.

Green Bay currently is using Antonio Chatman, a former Arena Football League player, as its return specialist. Chatman has averaged 23.4 yards on kickoff returns and 9.4 yards on punt returns.

In three games this year, Swinton has three kickoff returns for 65 yards and has a punt runback for no gain. Smith has averaged just 18.9 yards on eight kickoff returns and has four punt returns for 45 yards.

Swinton entered the league as a free agent in Jacksonville in 1998 and, when he didn't make the team, went to the CFL for two seasons. He then made the Dallas roster as a free agent in 2001.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.