Jets making Sauce Gardner earn his nickname

The Jets are taking a page out of the playbook that Sauce Gardner’s college team used. 

Asked for his impressions of the much-hyped rookie cornerback, reigning Jets defensive captain C.J. Mosley referred in his answer to Gardner by his given first name “Ahmad” rather than his preferred nickname. Why? 

“He’s Ahmad until the season starts and he makes a play,” said Mosley, adding “pretty much” everyone in the locker room is playing along. “Ahmad it is.” 

Jets’ Sauce Gardner (1) stretches during practice
Until Sauce Gardner makes a play in a game, the Jets are going to call him Ahmad.
Bill Kostroun

The form of rookie initiation should be familiar to Gardner, whose college coaches and upper-class teammates pulled the same stunt. Despite going by “Sauce” since he was 6 years old, Gardner had to earn the nickname at Cincinnati, which he did with a pick-six in an upset win against Central Florida as a freshman. 

“Ahmad has some sauce to him, that’s for sure,” Mosley said. “On the field, he’s working all the time. He’s on the sideline asking questions. Off the field, he’s very confident, as well. He’s a very smart player, and you respect that a lot. He doesn’t try to act like he knows everything. He listens and tries to do the right thing.” 

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