Aaron Rodgers tells Sauce Gardner he's a future Hall of Famer; Jets cornerback wants to play until he's 40

The Jets made their 2023 debut on “Hard Knocks” Tuesday night, and unsurprisingly, Aaron Rodgers was the primary focus. But the star quarterback turned the spotlight to a teammate late in the first episode, telling cornerback Sauce Gardner during Hall of Fame Game festivities that the second-year cover man will get his own gold jacket down the road.

“You’ll be here one day,” Rodgers told Gardner as this year’s Hall of Fame inductees were honored. “I’ll be real old and gray when that happens.”

It’s high praise from Rodgers, especially considering Gardner, 22, is just one season into his NFL career. But it’s also par for the course in New York, where the longtime Packers QB had already hailed Gardner as potentially the best cornerback in the league. The latter is fresh off a Defensive Rookie of the Year campaign in which he led the NFL with 20 pass deflections.

As for Gardner himself, he acknowledged to Rodgers that the “plan” is to stay at the top long enough to be crowned in Canton. And not only that, but the 2022 first-round pick is prepared to play as long as Rodgers in order to do it.

“My mom always used to tell me to stay a kid as long as I could,” the cornerback told Rodgers. “But it’s like, if I’m really gonna do this, I’m gonna be older, bro. I got aspirations of playing in the league for 40 years. I’m trying to be a 40-year-old (in the NFL).”

In the meantime, Gardner, Rodgers and the Jets will return to “Hard Knocks” on Aug. 15. They kick off their anticipated 2023 season on Sept. 11 in prime time against the Bills.

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