It’s a morning surf off Carlsbad’s Tamarack State Beach and the topic is what?
“Carlsbad High School football,’’ Brett Swain said. “That’s all they want to talk about it.’’
Swain delivers the low down to those bobbing in between sets. Swain is a former Carlsbad great and a current Carlsbad coach.
“It’s pretty cool,’’ Swain said. ‘I’m not that too far from graduation.’’
Then his 2003 senior year is mentioned, and maybe it’s longer than realized. Swain, 30, was gone a bit and what a ride it was.
But before digging into Swain, it’s Carlsbad, winners of three straight, that’s rising.
The Lancers (5-3, 3-0) have a critical Avocado League West contest at El Camino (5-3, 0-2) Friday night.
“It’s going to be a big game,’’ Swain said.
The biggest shocker might be what Swain is coaching.
Instead of catching the ball, as he did at Carlsbad, San Diego State, the NFL and CFL, Swain is training defensive backs.
“I teach them from a receiver’s perspective,’’ Swain said. “Tell the kids what tendencies receivers have — just the little stuff that high school kids usually don’t understand. But offense is my passion.’’
Swain’s reliable hands were his football passport.
Swain starred at SDSU and was with the Packers for two years after being selected in the seventh round. He made the team, was cut, and signed back — the typical yo-yo roster moves most lower draft picks endure.
With Swain, of course, he did it with his North County smile and his can’t-help-but notice long hair.
But he made it, and that right there is a conversation starter. Swain saw action in Super Bowl XLV, went on to the 49ers, Seahawks and played in the CFL until February.
You sure you’re only 30, Brett?
Yep, and he adds another nice touch to Carlsbad’s connection to its former athletes.
Swain isn’t the only one with NFL credentials roaming practice as part of head coach Thadd MacNeal’s staff.
Brandon Chillar, the team’s former defensive coordinator, is a presence. Ted Johnson has been known to poke his head in the weight room.
Swain couldn’t wait to get started on his second career.
Once a bum hip derailed his pro days, he was up nights planning the next move.
“I knew I wanted to stay in the game,’’ he said. “And Carlsbad was too good to pass up.’’
Swain had been accepted into an NFL-backed Masters program on leadership and is nearly its completion.
He coaches privately and is involved in other training companies.
He yaps weekly with SDSU coach Rocky Long on FOX Sports. But the best conversation comes after the taping.
“When we go out to our cars I told Rocky, ‘I don’t know if you want to walk with me,’’’ Swain said. “I could end up talking football all night.’’
Swain is out of the game, yet up to his eyelids in. There’s coaching in his future, he’s just not sure at what level.
It’s clear he’s been bit by what grabs any coach.
“The cool thing is the response you get from the kids,’’ Swain said. “When they stay the course, continue to grow and get better, they learn they can take it to the next level. That is what we are seeing right now. They are getting the confidence that they can compete with the best teams in the county.’’
They do so with a coach owning a Super Bowl title ring and with their best interests in mind.
“I don’t have to live through their accomplishments, I got mine,’’ Swain said. “Was my career perfect? No, it wasn’t and I think back at the things I could have done better. I get to tell the kids that if I could do it again, this is what I would have done.’’
What he finally did was clip his flowing locks. The mane, which once rested on his shoulders, finally met sharp scissors.
“My wife said it was time,’’ Swain added.
So don’t look for Swain’s locks if out surfing. Just listen for the Carlsbad football stories.
Contact Jay Paris at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at jparis_sports.
Sportswriter Jay Paris has written his “Sports Talk” column since joining the Coast News in 2013.
Paris, a Cardiff resident, is a longtime Southern California writer, getting his start with the Orange County Register before coming to San Diego in 1992 to cover the Chargers.
He had the Chargers beat for more than two decades with Oceanside Blade-Citizen, the North County Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune, before being named a sports columnist with the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Paris has won numerous awards voted on by his peers in the Pro Football Writers of America. He has also been a staple on countless media platforms, everything from the KPBS to MLB Network and various radio outlets.
Paris is also the author of three books, with his latest one being, “Shohei Ohtani: The Amazing Story Of Baseball’s Two-Way Japanese Superstar.” He has also written “Game Of My Life Chargers” and “Game Of My Life Rams.”
He currently covers the NFL in Los Angeles for Forbes. com and is a contributor to USA Today Sports Weekly.