Josh Swords: Former Crimson Tide Player, Attorney, and Friend
Coach Gene Stallings recruited Josh Swords to play football in Tuscaloosa but the former Offensive Lineman has always found home in the courtroom.
By Matthew Corwin
Dateline Alabama Producer
Tuscaloosa, Ala—“Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to be lawyer.” If you see Josh Swords walking down the street, those words may surprise. As a former University of Alabama lineman, Swords is a big guy. But after you talk with him and spend some time, you quickly realize Swords is not only big in size but that he has a big heart as well.
Originally from Brentwood, TN, Josh grew up in the heart of SEC football country. According to him, his family was always Alabama fans while everyone around them rooted for the University of Tennessee. In high school, Swords was the Tennessee Player of the Year and chose to play for Coach Gene Stallings at Alabama.
“Alabama was a good fit for me.” Swords said. “I had some family in Alabama and I felt at home here.”
Between 1994-1998 Swords played for the Tide. Being a 5 star recruit out of high school, you would think Swords would have dreams of playing in the NFL. That wasn’t the case.
“Ever since I saw the movie, To Kill a Mockingbird, I knew that is what I wanted to do.” Swords said. “I wanted to be Atticus Finch (laughing)”.
He graduated the capstone with a undergrad degree in English and attended Mississippi College for Law School. Using the connections that he made while playing in Tuscaloosa, Swords returned after graduation to work for a law firm before getting the opportunity to work with District Attorney Tommy Smith. Swords says although athletics hurts you in some areas, it helps you make connections in others.
“With athletics it is very difficult to take certain classes.” Swords said. “During the fall I couldn’t take some classes because my schedule was so packed. I was a English major and I couldn’t my schedule didn’t allow me to be a business major, but through the athletic department I was able to make connections and those connections brought me back to Tuscaloosa after law school.”
Alabama’s Athletic Club is what Swords is referring to. The club connects athletes to different mentors and former players to athletes in exchange for offering players advice and life direction after their playing days are over. Swords continues that tradition today. He is an active member in both the Athletic Club and the Tide Pride organization.
“I want to help current players in any way I can.” Swords said. “While I played here, some doors were opened up that were previously not there, I want to give that opportunity to the current group of guys. I know what they are going through, it is a lot and if I can help out in any way possible I will.”
Helping out in any way possible does include what he is good at, defending people. Swords represented some Crimson Tide Players in 2013 after players were involved in a robbery of a student.
“He’s all about being the best you can be.” Haley Dean said. Dean currently works for Swords in his law office as an intern. “I’ve know Mr. Swords as a swim team parent (The most competitive one), as a friendly face, and now as my boss. It’s truly special to be apart from his team.”
“Being a lawyer requires the same skill set that is needed in football.” Swords said. “You need to have strength, endurance, focus. Without football I wouldn’t have had those skills and this opportunity. If you told me how my life would turn out in high school, I wouldn’t have changed anything and absolutely would have done it again.”