National Football League
Sauce Gardner believes former Jets teammate Mecole Hardman 'never earned his stripes'
National Football League

Sauce Gardner believes former Jets teammate Mecole Hardman 'never earned his stripes'

Updated Mar. 13, 2024 12:42 a.m. ET

The reason Mecole Hardman didn't fit in with the Jets: "He never earned his stripes." 

Jets' cornerback Sauce Gardner is continuing to defend his team amid allegations by his former teammate turned recent Super Bowl champion.

Gardner recently appeared on "The Pivot," hosted by Ryan Clark and clapped back at Hardman's harsh words regarding the Jets' culture and dysfunction last season.

Hardman, who also appeared on "The Pivot" a few weeks ago, put himself in hot water with his former teammates after comments from his interview were released online. 


Although he tried his best to walk a few back, like his near-confession about breaking the NFL tampering policy, Gardner and other teammates were already fuming.

"I feel like you can't really discredit the Jets. Especially him individually," Gardner said on the podcast.

"They sent you to a contender team. They sent you back to the Chiefs and you just won the Super Bowl. I feel like that's ungrateful … he could have just taken the high road."

It's been a few weeks since the initial exchange on social media between Hardman and Gardner, in which a since-deleted post by Gardner called out the Chiefs wideout for allegedly leaking game plans.

During Gardner's interview, he did not seem to want to attack Hardman's character, but rather set the record straight on why he did not fit in with the Jets.

"We're always around each other … in the locker room having fun … always talking to each other after practice. The reason he couldn't do that is because he never earned his stripes. He came into the facility and just thought he had it made for him."

"If you know what it takes to win, you're not going to go to practice and drop hella punts, and then have excuses as to why you're dropping them," Gardner continued.

"You're not going to go into a special teams meeting and get cussed out by the special teams coordinator. There's just certain things that aren't going to happen if you truly know what it takes to win."

In the end, Gardner confessed he was proud of Hardman's recent success with Kansas City, stating, "I'm actually proud of him for being able to go there and make those plays late in the season."

"I'm sure when he came to the Jets, he wasn't expecting to go back to Kansas City that same year.  I'm proud of him for being able to win a Super Bowl … for being able to make that catch to end the game."

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