Tony Stewart finished 13th at Pocono in the June 9 race. Credit: Getty Images
It isn't uncommon for a young player to walk around the Jets locker room with a ball in his hand, asking his teammates for an autograph.
The signed ball could end up in the bedroom of a young brother, a cousin or his personal collection. But Dalton Freeman didn't walk around the Jets locker room this week with any of the recipients in mind. Instead his signed footballs were headed to one of the biggest name in sports — NASCAR star Tony Stewart.
Freeman, several teammates and special teams assistant Louie Aguiar attended a NASCAR race at Pocono a few weeks ago. It turns out that Aguiar is friends with Stewart, so Freeman met the three-time Sprint Cup series champion before the race.
“They were very gracious to us,” Freeman told Metro New York. “And [Stewart's] assistant told us he was a huge Michael Vick fan. So I wanted to get him and Tony an autograph.”
Vick was on the phone for several minutes, his back turned to Freeman, when the Jets' second-year center sat down in the open locker next to the veteran quarterback. When Vick looked up, Freeman handed him a marker and he signed the two balls. Then he gave Freeman a thumbs up.
It was a small gesture from Freeman and, in turn, Vick to repay Stewart's racing team for their hospitality a few weeks before.
He says neither Stewart nor his assistant asked for an autograph or are expecting one.
“It's just something I wanted to do for them as a thank you,” Freeman said. “It was a great experience and great to get down there and meet him and see everything before the race. It was a great day.”