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#pounditMonday, August 8, 2022

Jets making rookie DB earn his famous nickname

Sauce Gardner with the media

Mar 5, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cincinnati defensive back Sauce Gardner (DB14) talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets made cornerback Ahmad Gardner the fourth overall pick in April’s NFL Draft, conferring a certain amount of status upon him with that high draft capital. When it comes to his famous nickname, however, he still has some work to do in the eyes of his teammates.

Gardner went by the nickname “Sauce” at Cincinnati, but his fellow Jets are not ready to confer that on him at the pro level yet. Linebacker C.J. Mosley said on NFL Network that Gardner has to make some big plays before he earns the right to be called “Sauce” by his veteran teammates.

“We told him if he gets two pick-sixes in the preseason, then we might give him Sauce,” Mosley said, via NFL.com. “And it’s got to be against the 1s, too, so no 2s, 3s, backups, all that. More than likely, we’ll start calling him Sauce when he makes a big play in the regular season.”

For now, the Jets and coach Robert Saleh are referring to Gardner as “A.G.” For his part, the rookie is just fine with the ultimatum.

“That’s what I want — that’s how it was in Cincy,” Gardner said. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Gardner was not shy about how he sees himself prior to the draft. He clearly has no concerns about being able to earn back his nickname at the NFL level, so he’ll clearly be eyeing some big plays early in the season.

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