Garrett Swanson in 2023 enters his fifth Bengals and NFL season, and will again serve as assistant strength and conditioning coach.
Since arriving in Cincinnati three years ago, Swanson and the strength and conditioning staff have led the physical development of an influx of new and young Bengals players. Multiple key players returned from injuries to help lead the team to an AFC North Division title, an AFC Championship and a berth in Super Bowl LVI in 2021-22, highlighted by second-year QB Joe Burrow, who was named the AP NFL Comeback Player of the Year after missing the final six weeks of his rookie season with a knee injury. Burrow set single-season franchise records in passing yardage (4611), TDs (34) and passer rating (108.3). TE C.J. Uzomah, coming back from an Achilles injury suffered in Week 2 of the 2020 campaign, recorded career highs in receptions (49), receiving yards (493) and TDs (five).
The strength and conditioning staff's efforts during Swanson's time in Cincinnati were particularly evident in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic prohibited training at the team facility during the offseason and limited it during the regular season. Swanson and the strength staff adjusted and helped onboard a wave of new additions, including the team's seven-player draft class that went on to play 96 combined games as rookies, tied for the second-most by a Bengals draft class since the draft sent to seven rounds in 1994.
In 2019, Swanson and the strength and conditioning staff guided Cincinnati to a late-season surge, with vast improvements on both offense and defense the second half of the year. Offensively, the Bengals averaged 70.6 more rushing yards per game in the second half of the season (130.1) compared to the first (59.5). The team's average rushing yards per attempt also jumped 1.26 yards (3.17 to 4.43) over the final eight games, and it allowed 10 fewer sacks. Defensively, Cincinnati notched 11 more sacks the second half of the year, and allowed 84.1 fewer yards per game (57.5 fewer rushing, 26.6 fewer passing yards).
Swanson came to Cincinnati from the University of Illinois, where he served as assistant strength coach under Boese from 2017-18. During his tenure, Swanson helped Boese develop the Illini into one of the most powerful rushing offenses in the Big Ten Conference. In 2018, the team's 244.2 yards rushing per game ranked second in the Big Ten, and RB Reggie Corbin led the conference in yards per attempt (8.5) en route to third-team All-Big Ten honors.
As a player, Swanson spent four seasons (2012-15) as a punter at Fresno State University. He finished his career with 201 punts for 8411 yards (41.8 average) and 58 inside-20s. In addition to his punting duties, he served as the Bulldogs' kickoff specialist and holder on placekicks. He also was a four-time Mountain West All-Academic team selection.
Swanson played all four seasons at Fresno State alongside fellow Bengals strength and conditioning coach Todd Hunt, who was a defensive end for the Bulldogs. All four of his seasons also came under the tutelage of Boese, who was the football team's head strength and conditioning coach at the time. Swanson, Hunt and Boese helped the Bulldogs to back-to-back conference titles in 2012 and '13, a first for the program since 1992-93.
In 2016, Swanson signed as a college free agent with the Arizona Cardinals. He played in three preseason games for the Cardinals and punted six times for 254 yards (42.3), with two inside-20s, before being released.
Swanson was born June 24, 1994, in Riverside, Calif. (metro Los Angeles). He attended Martin Luther King High School in Riverside, where he was a team captain and all-state performer as a punter, and was named team MVP as a senior. He also handled his team's placekicking duties, and converted a league-record 60-yard field goal.
Swanson graduated from Fresno State with a degree in kinesiology-exercise science, and he also holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California Baptist University. He also is certified as a strength and conditioning specialist by NSCA.