From the Gridiron to BFFs: Las Vegas Raiders Trio Say They 'Know Each Other Inside and Out'
Ethan Miller/Getty (L-R) Daniel Carlson, AJ Cole, Trent Sieg
Las Vegas Raiders' A.J. Cole, Trent Sieg, and Daniel Carlson spend about as much time together as possible, which the teammates-turned-best friends say helps fuel their success.
The trio, all 27, "have become really close over the years," says Carlson, the team's placekicker.
"There's that quote — you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with," says Cole, 27, who was drafted by the Las Vegas team in 2019. "We know each other in and out and we know we can trust each other."
The friendship between teammates is "special" and "hard to explain" says Cole, who appreciates that Sieg and Carlson can understand the unique complexities of life in the NFL. "They can understand in a different way and give advice from that perspective. It's super helpful to have people you really trust and can lean on and be just fully transparent and open with."
Courtesy Las Vegas raiders (L-R) Daniel Carlson, AJ Cole, Trent Sieg
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Cole credits "the crazy moments" the three have been through together since they got to Las Vegas in 2019. "When you go through those moments with people you don't really know that well, I think it's difficult to know who to talk to or exactly what you can be comfortable sharing," he explains.
When they have downtime during practice, the guys keep their competitive spirits sharp with video games. Recently, the game of choice is Super Smash Bros, according to the guys.
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Sieg, the team's long snapper, tells PEOPLE that he leans on his best friends throughout the season, "whether we're winning or losing."
For Sieg, "the biggest thing" he looks for in his friends is "having a group of guys that go through the same things" during "so many ups and downs throughout the season."
He adds: "You can kind of lean on each other and really try to hold each other accountable as you go through everything."
Before they became best friends though, Cole and Carlson had an awkward reunion when they were first introduced as teammates.
According to Cole, he first met Carlson in 2016 at a kicking camp in Whitewater, Wisconsin.
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In fact, Cole tells PEOPLE that Carlson snubbed him the first time the two saw each other at the Raiders facility years after they attended the camp together. "When I got to the Raiders and we walk down to meet each other, I walk up to Daniel and said, 'Hey, Good to see you again,' and he said to me, 'Nice to meet you.' "
Cole hasn't forgotten his reaction to the awkward moment, but the two can laugh about it now. "I was like, 'Oh, my heart!' "
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Carlson claims that the mixup happened because Cole "had really long hair" when they met at the kicking camp, but was sporting "a clean-cut look" when they met again as Raiders teammates.
"Also, A.J. can attest to this now, I'm probably the worst person with names and faces," Carlson laughs. "So I think he feels less bad about it now."
Then, the campers-turned-teammates met Sieg, who says he knew of Carlson beforehand. "We both grew up in Colorado, graduated at the same time," says Sieg. "I was more aware of Daniel than he was of me, but, I guess that's a theme with him," he jokes.
The Raiders will host the Los Angeles Chargers at home on Sunday.