Jets' Sauce Gardner Defends Aaron Rodgers From Criticism Over Missed Minicamp

The All-Pro cornerback pushed back against critics of his quarterback on social media.
New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner, left, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers perform their handshake before a preseason NFL game at MetLife Stadium
New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner, left, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers perform their handshake before a preseason NFL game at MetLife Stadium / Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com /
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The New York Jets gathered for mandatory minicamp this week, the first stage of the offseason that is not optional for the entire roster. A media firestorm immediately descended once it was revealed quarterback Aaron Rodgers was not in attendance, and his absence was "unexcused," per head coach Robert Saleh.

Saleh addressed reporters about the situation twice and both times insisted there was nothing to see here. Rodgers was simply not there, had communicated why he wasn't going to be there, and that's all the information the fans would get. The lack of concrete information has not stemmed a flow of criticism directed at Rodgers for not showing up.

On Thursday night, Jets star cornerback Sauce Gardner apparently got sick of those taking aim at his quarterback and defended Rodgers on social media.

"Are y'all really making a big deal because a 15+ year HOF QB missed 2 days of practice after being with the team all throughout Phase 1, 2, & 3 of OTA's??," Gardner wrote on his X (formerly Twitter) account. "GG's."

A salient point that forces the reasonable reader to acknowledge this wouldn't be nearly as big a story if it were any other quarterback. But Rodgers, by virtue of his own actions and the team he plays for, is a lightning rod for attention. It is not a bad sign for the Jets' season that their veteran quarterback isn't at minicamp, but it is objectively noteworthy that Rodgers isn't anywhere to be seen for reasons unknown.

Despite losing Rodgers in Week 1, Gardner was a bright spot for the Jets. He was named to his second consecutive All-Pro team as a sophomore and recorded 11 passes defended. Year 3 is shaping up to be just as good as the first two for the elite corner.


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Liam McKeone

LIAM MCKEONE

Liam McKeone is a senior writer for the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated. He has been in the industry as a content creator since 2017, and prior to joining SI in May 2024, McKeone worked for NBC Sports Boston and The Big Lead. In addition to his work as a writer, he has hosted the Press Pass Podcast covering sports media and The Big Stream covering pop culture. A graduate of Fordham University, he is always up for a good debate and enjoys loudly arguing about sports, rap music, books and video games. McKeone has been a member of the National Sports Media Association since 2020.