ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Quandre Diggs was on the sideline the season opener in 2015. For most of the game, he sipped on Gatorade waiting for his opportunity. He was a rookie cornerback. It was his first career game and the team opposite him was one he grew up rooting for – the then-San Diego Chargers.
Diggs knew the Chargers well - had to because of the familial connections that bound the Texas native to Southern California. His brother, Quentin Jammer, was a star for the Chargers from 2002 to 2012.
So games at Qualcomm Stadium were like a second home to him and with it came getting to know the Chargers’ quarterback, the same guy who lived down the street from his brother, Philip Rivers. Yes, the same Philip Rivers that Diggs will see Sunday when he’s the starting safety for the Detroit Lions, the man charged with trying to make the 37-year-old quarterback’s life miserable for a few hours.
And it’s something Diggs is looking forward to.
“It’s crazy how it works together," Diggs said. "Like I said, that’s one of my brother’s favorite teammates. You could ask him right now who his favorite Charger is, and he’s going to tell you Philip. He loves the guy. Philip loves him back and, heck, I love Philip, too.
“... Me growing up watching him, it’s just amazing how it’s my turn to go up against him now, so it’ll be cool.”
The only other time Diggs faced him -- in Game 1 of his career -- he played 18 snaps and had two tackles. Rivers threw for 403 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and a come-from-behind 33-28 Chargers win.
This time, Diggs has more experience. He’s more well known and on his second contract with Detroit. But still, looking across the sidelines at the AFC team he’ll face -- it’ll still be somewhat odd.
“I went to so many games watching my brother play,” Diggs said. “So for me, man, it’s going to be weird seeing those colors across from me, but at the end of the day, I’m a Detroit Lion.”
And for a few hours, at least, Jammer likely will be, too. Diggs said Jammer is coming to Sunday’s game in Detroit, maybe even wearing a jersey with his brother's name on it. When Diggs, an ascending player considered one of the better safeties in the NFC, was asked if his brother would be sitting in the Chargers’ section -- he was, after all, named to the franchise’s 50th Anniversary Team -- Diggs scoffed.
“Man, you think he’s going to sit in the Chargers’ area? … My brother don’t want them problems,” Diggs said. “He’s sitting in our family section.”