COVID-19 isn’t going to stop Quinnen Williams from his passion for collecting jerseys of players he’s faced around the NFL. The New York Jets defensive lineman has plans to add to his collection of jerseys, even if things are made more complicated this year due to the coronavirus.
Because of the pandemic, the NFL said that players can’t swap jerseys after games, a tradition that has started in recent years and is inspired by the soccer world. Williams is one of those players who has participated in jersey swaps, often exchanging with former teammates in college at Alabama or players he’s admired around the league.
So far, Williams has only exchanged with Miami Dolphins defensive lineman Reakwon Davis, a former teammate in college.
“We used to go before the game and say ‘Hey you want to swap?’ Now, you actually have to hit them up before the game and tell the equipment staff for the other team and you have to tell the equipment staff of your team to mail your jersey to that player,” Williams said. “They use Tide to clean and sanitize and then mail them.”
The reference to Tide stems from the Tide Hygienic Clean jersey swap program. The laundry detergent company has partnered with the NFL to facilitate the jersey swaps can still go forward despite the pandemic-related restrictions.
Tide will make possible the cleaning of all jerseys and shipping so that an exchange can take place. So an exchange that used to take place on the field after the game can still happen, just via the postal service.
Williams said when playing the Seattle Seahawks in a few weeks, he hopes to do an exchange with Russell Wilson. The Jets defensive lineman, a first round pick last year, said he respects the Seahawks quarterback.
“A lot of players, when we first heard that we can’t jersey swap, man, it was disappointing,” Williams said.
“Me, myself, I want to get all my favorite football players to hang up in my future home.”