HomeSports2022 NFL Draft: See Sauce Gardner’s Diamond-Covered ‘Sauce’ Chains

2022 NFL Draft: See Sauce Gardner’s Diamond-Covered ‘Sauce’ Chains

by Suzanne Halliburton
Mindy Small/Getty Images

Sometimes big and gaudy is the best way to celebrate your success. That’s what Sauce Gardner was thinking when he wore two diamond-encrusted chains commemorating his long-time nickname to the NFL Draft.

It’s obvious this Cincinnati Bearcat has the skills to play cornerback in the NFL. And from his selection of accessories, he also has the swagger. He sported one pendant that was a sauce bottle. Another spelled out S-A-U-C-E. For Gardner, there’s no such thing as too much, especially when you’re partying at the NFL draft in Las Vegas.

The Cincy social media account celebrated Gardner, who was among 21 future rookies on hand for the NFL draft. The Bearcats tweeted a video clip of their cornerback with the caption: “Can’t ever have too much sauce.”

And now, New York Jets fans will be celebrating the charismatic Gardner, too. The Jets, using the fourth pick of Thursday’s draft, selected Gardner to be the newest member of their defense. LSU’s Derek Stingley went third, giving him the honors as top defensive back selected in the draft. Six picks after Gardner, the Jets selected Ohio State receiver Garrett Wilson.

So here’s why everybody calls Gardner, Sauce. His given name is Ahmad. But sometimes the nicknames you get as a kid stick through adulthood. Sauce certainly followed Gardner. He picked it up when he was in elementary school, playing for the East Side Bengals in Detroit. His coach nicknamed him Sauce. Check that, the nickname was far longer. “A1 Sauce Sweet Feet Gardner.” But given that Gardner was so slight in stature, he couldn’t carry all those names.

In his later years, he favored Wendy’s creamy sriracha sauce. He put it on everything.

“When I get the 4 for $4, I get like three sriracha sauces and I dip everything in it — my burger, my nuggets and my fries,” Gardner said in an interview last fall.

He said when Wendy’s dropped the sauce, it helped him with his diet. He needed to put on good weight, not the kind you gain from fast food. So last spring, for the first time in his career, he cracked 200 pounds. And at 6-foot-3, that good weight made him a quality NFL prospect.

Sauce Gardner definitely has the confidence to play in the NFL and pull off the chains. Plus, now that he’s moving to NYC, he’ll always have some place to wear his pendants.

He should be a starter his rookie season. Gardner was a consensus All-American last season. He also played mostly man coverage, which should prepare him for NFL receivers. And Sauce Gardner will be able to afford more necklaces like the chains he wore for the NFL draft. Florida tight end Kyle Pitts went No. 4 in 2021. He signed a deal with the Atlanta Falcons worth $32 million. That can buy a lot of diamonds.