AJ Dillon is His New QB's Biggest Fan
June 20, 2023
Like many others during the COVID-19 quarantine, AJ Dillon found himself retreating to old lost interests in his home. For Dillon, what he found himself drawn to was his old habit of collecting sports cards. Dillon reminisced about his childhood days, like many others, when he collected Pokemon cards, sports cards and more.
"I collected like everybody when you're younger, Pokemon cards and stuff like that," Dillon said. "That was the COVID year, and everybody went into their basement and was like, 'Oh I have this trading card, what are they worth? Wow.' People really liked these trading cards and I really got into it."
Among his extensive collection, one card holds particular significance. A dual rookie card featuring Dillon and the rookie first-round pick, Jordan Love, who has become a close friend to the Packers' running back. Their relationship seemed to build during the pre-draft phase as they found themselves represented by the same NFL agency. When both players were chosen by the Green Bay Packers, they embarked on a rookie season that was like no other, characterized by a virtual offseason program, no preseason games, and the regular season games being in empty stadiums.
During his free time, Dillon continued to open card packs and even began hosting live breaks. His collection expanded to include cards of his teammates, such as Aaron Jones, Randall Cobb, and, of course, Love. Eventually, Dillon approached Love and asked if he would be willing to autograph a few cards for him.
Love acknowledged Dillon's enthusiasm, stating that he too was invested in collecting cards and had a substantial collection. Love invited Dillon to his house, where he signed the cards and shared in the excitement.
Dillon would also send the cards to Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) for grading. He added his favorite nicknames and personal inscriptions like "Quadzilla," "The Sauce," and "#28" to his own cards.
Among the shipment was the dual card featuring Dillon and Love, which had initially sparked Dillon's interest. Later, Dillon obtained a special Contenders card featuring Love and Justin Herbert, the quarterback for the Los Angeles Chargers. Both players autographed it, with a "1/1" inscription.
Dillon, preparing for his fourth NFL season, recently celebrated the birth of his son, Algiers "Trey" Dillon, on May 2, coinciding with AJ's 25th birthday. Meanwhile, Love is gearing up for his debut season as the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, having previously observed Aaron Rodgers as his understudy for three seasons. Love's transition has been eased by the support he receives from Dillon and the rest of the Packers' locker room.
Amidst the multitude of changes they have experienced together, Dillon and Love have forged a robust bond and emerged as remarkably supportive teammates. Love describes Dillon as a calm and easygoing individual and fondly recalls their time spent together in Door County over the Memorial Day weekend. However, beneath the composed exterior lies a fierce competitor, as evidenced by their longstanding rivalry in ping-pong and their friendly battles of shooting empty water bottles into wastepaper baskets near their lockers.
"It's huge. You gotta have people you can fall back on," Love said. "It's awesome to have those relationships and it helps when – like me and AJ, we get to come here to the same team, and we have that relationship already."
Dillon considers Love not only a teammate but also a fan. He wholeheartedly supports Love's aspirations for greatness and wants him to achieve all his dreams. Throughout the OTAs (organized team activities), Love has showcased his leadership qualities, garnering respect from everyone in the team. Dillon finds this admirable and speaks highly of Love.
"I always tell him, I have no problem with you going out there and winning a couple MVPs and some Super Bowls," said Dillon, laughing. "Yeah, go ahead, dude. Do what you need to do."
As they approach the upcoming season, both players carry their own aspirations. Dillon, having already made a remarkable impact in his NFL career, seeks to elevate his performance even further through relentless dedication. Meanwhile, Love has benefited from invaluable guidance and ample preparation time for his new role as a starting quarterback, albeit with the daunting task of filling the shoes of one of the league's greatest quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers.
With their steadfast bond extending both on and off the field, we can anticipate a seamless collaboration between the two in the forthcoming season. Together, they have the potential to be a part of a seriously efficient offense this season.
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