AJ Dillon | Collector Stories

Green Bay Running Back Talks The Hobby

Date: Mar 19, 2024
Author: Greg Bates, Senior Writer
Topics: AJ Dillon, Collector Stories, How To Collect
Length: 938 Words
Reading Time: ~5 Minutes

“I ALWAYS BET ON MYSELF.”

That phrase is boldly tattooed on AJ Dillon’s left forearm. He lives by those words.

Dillon knows what he’s capable of on the football field; he’s never shied away from his abilities.

The Green Bay Packers running back — who recently wrapped up his fourth season in the NFL — has played an instrumental role in the Packers’ offense since he was a rookie.

Dillon isn’t just betting on himself on the field. He’s a big collector, especially of cards of himself. He owns 43 of his 1-of-1 cards.

“I want to have a great collection of my cards,” said Dillon, who spoke with Topps RIPPED during a recent card show near Green Bay. “I have a son now. But then I was like, ‘I’m going to have a kid one day. I want a 1-of-1 card.’ This is the only one in the world.”

The Quadfather showing off some Topps Pristine and Topps Gilded scores.

Dillon Collects His Teammates

A second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Dillon was a collector as a youngster. He would walk with his dad to Sarge’s Comics in his hometown of New London, Connecticut, and pick up comic books. That triggered his passion for collecting.

Dillon got into collecting football cards following his rookie season. After signing for companies and fans, Dillon was curious about the value of autographed cards. He looked into it, and he caught the collecting bug.

“It’s an awesome group to be a part of,” Dillon said. “I started to go to some card shows. I started doing some of my own collecting. I’m fully invested in it.”

Picking up cards of himself isn’t Dillon’s sole approach in The Hobby. He’s big into collecting his Packers teammates.

“I collected Jordan Love back before anybody thought he was going to be good, when everybody in town and everybody everywhere were still saying he was the worst pick ever,” Dillon said. “I went over to him and said, ‘Sign all these.’ So, I have a great Jordan Love collection.

“I never sell any of my teammates’ autos that they signed for me. But my personal collection is really nice.”

Word of Dillon’s collecting habits has circulated around the Packers’ locker room. His teammates get a good chuckle when they discover his hobby.

“They’re always like, ‘Bro, are you really collecting cards?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, it’s awesome. I love it,'” Dillon said. “Everybody has their thing in their off time and their hobbies; for me, cards and collectibles are one of my passions. It’s fun.”

Dillon’s Deals: Box Breaks with the RB

The T-shirt says it all.

Dillon, who has the nicknames “Quadzilla” and “The Quadfather” due to his gigantic quadriceps, mainly collects football cards. But recently, Dillon has had the desire to get into baseball cards.

“I grew up a baseball kid — that was my first love,” Dillon said. “I played all the up until high school. I’m a big New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox fan. I lived in Connecticut, so I was split between both. I liked players on both teams.

“I want to get back into baseball. I know it will be a little bit of a learning curve. I know they have prospect cards, and it’s a whole other world.”

Dillon—a box-breaker under the name Dillon’s Deals—wants to offer his customers and viewers more variety in his videos.

“I like to do a variety in my breaks when I stream,” Dillon said. “So, I want to do a little bit of basketball and WWE.”

During the offseason, Dillon tries to break once a week. In mid-February, he had a marathon seven ½-hour break that finished at 3:30 a.m. The next morning, Dillon woke up at 8 a.m. and personally shipped all the cards to his customers.

Dillion Loves Setting Up at Shows

Living just a few short miles from historic Lambeau Field, Dillon has a rather inconspicuous house. However, Dillon has a treasure trove of cards and football-related memorabilia. Dillon’s cards are kept in a storage room.

“My wife doesn’t want those out for everybody,” Dillon joked. “But I do have a man cave with all the jersey swaps I’ve done and stuff like that. I have Saquon [Barkley], Ezekiel Elliott, Derrick Henry, and Jordan Love. So, that looks nice when people come over and check it out.”

Dillon’s memorabilia man cave

Dillon collects cards year-round; however, he’s not as active during football season. In the offseason, Dillon takes advantage and ventures out to card shops. He also enjoys being a dealer at Green Bay-area card shows.

During a recent show at Tim’s Sports Cards & Nascar Die-Cast in New Franken, Wisconsin, Dillon’s table was buzzing for the duration of the event. Kids loved interacting with one of their hometown heroes, looking at his cards, and posing for pictures. A man of the people, Dillon enjoys putting smiles on kids’ faces.

“I’ve always tried to make myself, for the most part, pretty readily available and accessible to my fans and this audience, especially in Green Bay,” Dillon said. “They call me ‘The Mayor,’ up in Door County. I’m always around. Like I said and keep saying, [collecting] brings everybody together. We had somebody at the table who was 75 in here with a walker and a kid who was held by his dad who bought a $2 card.”

Card collecting is about community for Dillon. And he’s deeply ingrained in The Hobby culture.


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