Sauce Gardner was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, but the New York Jets star cornerback never actually wanted to play for the Lions.
During an interview on “The Pivot Podcast” last week, Gardner revealed that he did not want to get drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 2022 NFL Draft, partly because of what playing in his home state might mean for his career.
“They don’t even really ask me for nothing,” Gardner said of his closest friends after being asked how he handles wanting to help his friends and family after turning pro.
“My family don’t really ask me nothing, especially the ones who weren’t around when I was down — when me, mom, my brother and my sister were going through it. The ones who weren’t down with us, they don’t ask me for nothing because they already know the answer.”
“That’s one reason why I didn’t want to get drafted by Detroit. That would’ve been a total different story,” he continued.
“I would’ve had so many different people asking for tickets. People probably would’ve seen me around Detroit then they would’ve been trying to hangout, then they would’ve been trying to ask me for money, this, this and that. There’s so many variables that go into it, that’s why I’m happy I’m at where I’m at right now.
Gardner was drafted by the Jets fourth overall while the Lions picked defensive end Aidan Hutchinson with the No. 2 overall pick.
But Lions head coach Dan Campbell said back in December that Detroit was never leaning towards taking Gardner with the second pick.
“We thought about a lot of different guys, but I never really felt it went there for (general manager) Brad (Holmes) and myself,” Campbell said, via the Detroit Free Press.
“He’s a heck of a football player, and we loved his length, we thought he was pretty smart and pretty crafty. He was aggressive, runs pretty good… but he fits perfect in that defense. I mean, he’d fit perfect in just about any defense. But he’s really grown. He’s really grown. He’s become a pretty dang good corner out there.”
Garnder was named 2022 Defensive Rookie of the Year and became the first rookie corner to make first-team honors since Ronnie Lott did so as a member of the San Francisco 49ers in 1981.
He also did not allow a touchdown all season long, mirroring his college career at Cincinnati.
Fox News’ Scott Thompson contributed to this report.