Aaron Rodgers kidnapped, taunted by JUCO player in flag football match
Darius Maxwell is a proud Florida native. Broward County to be precise, where football players are cast by the thousands in the swampy mud and emerge protecting the land that raised them.
So one March day in Southern California, when Maxwell found himself surrounded by forged quarterbacks in sunny Cali, he drew a line in the sand.
This resulted in a moment, and a subsequent video that went viral this week, showing Maxwell intercepts Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgersthen reveling in the moment by handing the ball to the back-to-back MVP as he ran to celebrate.
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As Maxwell continued down the field, Rodgers laughed and flicked the ball back to Maxwell jokingly.
The Fort Lauderdale native can now boast a feat that even NFL defensive backs don’t experience very often. During Rodgers’ 17-year NFL career, the four-time MVP threw just 93 interceptions. That’s an average of 5.4 per season.
Maxwell came to the annual RX3 charity football game with his Saddleback College (Mission Viejo, Calif.) teammates just to have fun. The junior college wide receiver was placed with his friends on a team that included longtime NFL quarterback and former Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer.
Palmer and his brother, Jordan, help organize the event hosted by RX3, an investment group that lists Rodgers as a partner. The Palmer brothers, Rodgers, Mark Sanchez, Sam Darnold, Matt Leinart and Josh Allen, among others, made up the list of California native passers leading the teams that day at JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano.
California and Florida, along with Texas, take turns producing the most beloved high school, college, and NFL football talent. Unsurprisingly, it’s a transcontinental battle to see who’s the best each time these players go head-to-head. Maxwell has been in California for two years playing football, but still finds himself representing the Sunshine State every time he takes the field.
“Every day in training I go through it, every day it doesn’t fail,” Maxwell said, speaking to PackersNews this week. “Everything I do here, I (represent Florida).”
So when his team took on Sanchez’s team and things heated up, Maxwell flipped a switch.
“They say, ‘Oh, if we were in pads, we’d beat you all up. It was just a lot of talk. It was intense,” Maxwell said. “So this game, this game was very intense. I had three choices that game.”
All three picks were impressive considering Maxwell doesn’t play defensive back. The small lineouts also put the receiver on the defensive end that day and Sanchez’s team snaps lit a fire.
The next game, Team Palmer faced Rodgers, another California quarterback. Early in the match, Maxwell set the tone with his pick.
“All day I was playing zone. I wasn’t trying to play too much, man, because I don’t play DB,” Maxwell said. “So I was just backing into my zone, I saw the corner road coming. Because I’m playing receiver, so I know when they’re in certain positions, what road they’re going.”
Maxwell popped the ball, baiting Rodgers and taking what should have been a soft throw the other way.
“They had a group game, I was like ‘watch the corner route, watch the exit route, then watch the crossing route.’ I literally shouted it,” Maxwell said. “So I just backed into the corner, got back into the pivot lane and then back into the corner. I just knew it, I hid behind the receiver. I didn’t go all the way to him, I just sat behind him a little bit, played him… just, the IQ, I’ve played football all my life.”
Maxwell laughed as he described what he did after the interception: He immediately handed the ball to Rodgers with just enough meanness to rub it in the quarterback’s face. It was something Maxwell had said he hadn’t even thought about at the time; he just reacted, in the most Floridian way possible.
“I’m telling you, I’m from Florida so when we play 7v7, we put the ball back, we clear the ball after an interception. We throw the ball to the other side. … In that moment, I can’t tell you why I did it, I was just excited. ‘There, thanks for the ball.’ “
The young receiver, who is transferring this fall to Division II Wheeling University in West Virginia, soon got a taste of his own medicine. Reminding everyone on the court who he was, Rodgers torched Maxwell on the following series with a deep, no-look pass.
“It was good, it was very good. Pure (Aaron Rodgers). You can’t stop it. It was good,” Maxwell said.
The game ended in a tie, courtesy of another classic Rodgers streak in which he moved upfield and threw a touchdown pass with seconds remaining.
“It was very intense,” Maxwell said. “We didn’t think we’d be in this game like this, I’m not going to lie to you playing Aaron Rodgers. You never know with him.”
Although Maxwell didn’t come away with a win over Rodgers, he did join an exclusive club: those who picked and introduced future Hall of Fame QB.