There were plenty of frustrating moments for the Cowboys in 2017, but rookie receiver Ryan Switzer proved to be a consistent bright spot in the return game.
Picked 133rd overall in last April’s draft, Switzer stepped into the return specialist role for the Cowboys and made an immediate impact. He finished 3rd in the NFL in kick return average, and ran back a punt 83 yards in week 13 against the Redskins.
On today’s episode of CowboysCast, Switzer talks about preparing for 2018, being a Belieber, and why Special Olympics is a cause so close to his heart:
Below is a transcript of the interview:
(1:37) Bobby Belt: Ryan Switzer joins us now on CowboysCast to talk about all things football, life, and maybe Justin Bieber. Ryan, how you doing, man?
(1:46) Ryan Switzer: Doing well, man. How are you?
(1:47) Belt: I’m great. We’ll get to Justin Bieber stuff in here mere moments, but first, congratulations on getting married last month to your lovely bride Gabie. I’m at least assuming you’re still married anyway, because I’ve been watching your Instagram pranks. Is everything still OK at home?
(2:05) Switzer: Yeah, yeah. I took a beating, but I just keep pressing forward, man. She married into it, so…
(2:15) Belt: Yeah, I mean, she’s got to understand what she’s coming into, right? I remember my wife has complained about some little things since we got married, and I’ve told her, “you knew all this stuff before we got married.” And she says, “yeah, I just thought you were going to change.”
(2:29) Switzer: Yeah, I mean, I’m a husband, but I’m still a kid.
(2:31) Belt: Exactly! This is a long-standing understanding, I think. So yeah, I think you’re good there. Props to you for still remaining true to yourself, that’s good. So, you’ve got to tell me, how long have you been a Belieber now?
(2:45) Switzer: A Belieber? You know…
(2:49) Belt: Was it the first album?
(2:51) Switzer: No, honestly, I wasn’t at first. I was more so jealous, because when I was in middle school, when I was younger, all the girls were like, “oh my gosh! Justin Bieber this, Justin Bieber that.” And he was just really absorbing all the attention that we were supposed to get. So I wasn’t at first, but then when I kind of got comfortable with who I was, I’m like, “alright, I’m that dude too.” I started kind of appreciating greatness, and ever since then I’ve followed him. Not that I agree with everything that he’s done, but I love his music, and I love his passion for music. So probably a couple of years now, going on being a Belieber.
(3:39) Belt: I’ve got to get your take on this, because this is a theory of mine that’s been shot down by some people, but others have been down with it. So I think Bieber has actually gone through like a bit of a Justin Timberlake transformation. Like, you remember early Bieber music was similar to NSYNC Timberlake, where guys were pretending not to jam out to it. Then you go like “Boyfriend” Bieber was more like Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River,” where people are like, “Alright, not bad, not bad,” but they’re still not willing to admit it. And then it’s like the last album people are like, “OK, it’s cool to publicly admit I love Bieber now.” So I think that’s a pretty fair comparison. I think he’s kind of had the Justin Timberlake trajectory.
(4:13) Switzer: I kind of like that too. I mean people really forget about Timberlake’s NSYNC days.
(4:21) Belt: Oh yeah. Nobody was admitting they liked him 15 years ago.
(4:24) Switzer: Exactly! They don’t cut Bieber a break when he had the high voice, and when he was making all the love music, but they cut Timberlake a break when he had the baggy clothes and the blonde hair. I like that, I’ve never heard that before.
(4:41) Belt: I think it’s coming. I think his day is coming, Justin Bieber. You know, I’ve spoken with a number of guys in the locker recently – Justin March-Lillard, your new teammates Joe Thomas, Jamize Olawale – and they’ve all made references during these last couple of weeks, kind of on their own, to how important their Christian faith has been during their careers. I know you’ve spoken some about that on social media, and how much do you think that influences you as you’ve been carving out a path for yourself in the NFL?
(5:12) Switzer: Oh man, I wouldn’t be who I am today, or where I am today, without my faith and without the relationship I have with Christ. And ultimately I think what’s helped me is knowing that everything that we have in this lifetime, and in this day and age, is all temporary. With our faith and what we believe, everything that we do now is working towards a bigger goal, and that’s eternal life in Heaven. It kind of just puts things into perspective, you know? Things aren’t always as bad as they seem, and they’re never as good as they seem. It helps you stay at an even keel knowing that there’s a greater purpose than what we’re doing now. During the trials and tribulations, the adversity that we go through – you know, I know especially with Justin, and the things that he’s shared with us that he’s gone through, for him to be able to pull through that, for him to be able to still lean on his faith, has been inspiring to me. It’s important, man, especially with what we’re doing, and being seen in the public eye; how things can go wrong, and how people can try to turn on you, and how quickly one bad decision can ruin everything you’ve worked for. I think it’s important to stay grounded with your faith, or whatever you believe in. Just make sure you stay grounded, keep things in perspective, and realize that you’re here for a greater purpose.
(6:49) Belt: Now something really exciting I’ve heard is that you’re actually planning on – you’ve put together a camp, I guess, coming up this summer in West Virginia with Special Olympics. Talk about that a little bit, and is that a cause that has had some significance to you for a while?
(7:03) Switzer: Yeah, my dad came to me with a really great idea on starting a camp back home. Not just a regular football camp, but something that can bring non-abled kids and abled kids together. The Special Olympics has been so close to my heart for a long time. The non-abled kids, the relationships that I have with a lot of them back home, especially my buddy Clifton, has just impacted me in more ways than I can really explain. My dad and I wanted to do something that gave back to that, to help raise money, to help spread awareness, to help a lot of abled kids who may be curious, but don’t interact with those kids on a daily basis. I know they see them in school, and I know they’re around them, but as a kid, and as someone who’s unfamiliar with how those non-abled kids are or what they’ve been diagnosed with, it can be a little bit intimidating. So I think that camp is going to be really good to bring those two groups together, and help create relationships, help create bonds. Because the non-abled kids are people just like you and me, they’re just a little bit different in their own way. So I think it’s important to spread awareness, and I think that’s what that camp is going to be able to do. I’m really excited for it to happen, and I think it’s going to be a great time.
(8:36) Belt: And if anybody wants to keep up with details on that, just follow Ryan on Twitter – @Switz – and you’ll have details there. Now really briefly here in just the last couple of minutes we have: I know you saw limited time on offense last season. I know it was something that was tough at times. Do you think that you’ll be able to build on anything you learned in 2017 and hopefully see that time on offense increase this year?
(8:59) Switzer: Man, I learned a lot. And if I didn’t learn a lot, then it’s going to be a waste of a year. Last year it was a year unlike really any I’ve had in my days of football. It was something that I kind of had to adjust to, you know, not being the guy, not being the one who was on the field, the one with the ball in his hands. Towards the end of the season I really started to embrace my role, being this team’s returner, and then focusing on little things that I can work on during the season to make my offensive game better going into 2018. This offseason it’s just been about honing in on the details that I learned during the year, making sure my training has been incredibly detailed, and incredibly strenuous. Ultimately, it’s up to this organization what they want to do with me. My job is to give them the best version of Ryan Switzer for them to use, and control what I can control. Do I want to be out there? Yes. Do I think I can help this team? Yes. Do I have a whole heck of a lot more in me? Yes. So really excited for next year, really looking forward to getting back with the guys. Me and Dak have been throwing quite a bit this offseason, getting our timing right, so like I said, I’m just real excited. I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s in store for us as a team this year.
(10:39) Belt: So both Dez and Bease got to throw a pass during the 2016 season. And Dez, his was actually a touchdown to Jason Witten. So you threw two touchdown passes at North Carolina; have you started whispering in Coach Garrett’s ear a little bit? Like to let you show off the arm in 2018?
(10:56) Switzer: Nah, I’ve started… *laughter* I’ve started whispering, “just let me get a little bit more.” Let me get the receiver down first before I start thinking about throwing any passes.
(11:08) Belt: Alright, so we’ll close things up here with a little bit of, “get to know Ryan Switzer.” Just some quick questions for the fans to close things out, some either/or type stuff. You ready?
(11:16) Switzer: Yeah.
(11:17) Belt: Alright, so are you Android or iPhone?
(11:18) Switzer: iPhone.
(11:19) Belt: I have not found a single person yet who says Android. It makes me feel really left out and rejected. PS4 or Xbox?
(11:25) Switzer: Ooh…well I have both, but I’m more bias towards the PS4.
(11:29) Belt: Yes! Alright, cool. I’m PS4, too. I’ll smoke you at 2k someday soon. This is a good one, I think, for you. You’re a big fan of Lil Wayne’s music as well, so would you rather lose all of your Lil Wayne music for forever, or all of your Bieber music?
(11:46) Switzer: Bieber.
(11:47) Belt: Bieber, oh wow, that was easy. OK, alright, great. Just two more questions. If you could have anybody act as your troll defender on social media – so like the phony KD, Kevin Durant accounts that he had – you can assign that job to anybody you want in the world to fight off trolls for you on social media. Who are you having do that?
(12:06) Switzer: Jourdan Lewis.
(11:17) Belt: Jourdan Lewis? I think that’s good. Yeah, Jourdan handles things well on his own. Alright, and this is one of my favorite questions. It was inspired by another Cowboys reporter actually, named RJ Ochoa, because he asks this to guys and I always like it. So if you were playing Madden online, and your opponent had the Cowboys – they were able to snatch up the Cowboys before you could – and he starts running back a punt with video game Ryan Switzer, are you going to tackle digital Switz or let him score?
(12:32) Switzer: Oh, I’m tackling him. Nothing sweet. I mean, it’s a cold world, man.
(12:37) Belt: Are you going to let yourself get some good yardage at least before you tackle him? Are you going to let him run for a little bit?
(12:43) Switzer: Uhh…no, I’m going to try to turn him over. If he gets turned over, that’s Video Game Switz’s fault.
(12:51) Belt: Alright, fair enough. And there you have it; now you know a little bit more about Cowboys’ receiver Ryan Switzer. Follow him on Twitter – that’s @Switz – and on Instagram – @Switz03. You can keep up with details – you’ll be sharing stuff I’m sure about the camp in West Virginia coming up?
(13:07) Switzer: Yep, yep.
(13:08) Belt: Alright, perfect. Well you guys can follow him there. Ryan, we appreciate it so much, and all the best this upcoming season.
(13:12) Switzer: Thanks, Bobby. Appreciate it, man.