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    Sauce Gardner Claps Back at Jets Fans, Media for Flaming Aaron Rodgers Controversy

    Much like many in the organization, All-Pro cornerback Sauce Gardner made it clear that Aaron Rodgers' absence from minicamp wasn't an issue with the Jets.

    Aaron Rodgers is a four-time NFL MVP and the starting quarterback of the New York Jets.

    Perhaps that combination is the reason why his absence from the team’s mandatory minicamp was taken as drastic news across NFL media platforms.

    Despite the circus that followed New York as it closed its offseason workouts, one of the Jets’ top players made it clear that Rodgers’ absence was nothing to be concerned about.

    Sauce Gardner Defends Aaron Rodgers’ Minicamp Absence

    Few players on the Jets’ roster have dominated at the level cornerback Sauce Gardner has over his first two seasons. So much so that when the two-time first-team All-Pro cornerback speaks out regarding the Jets’ franchise quarterback, plenty of people take notice.

    On Friday morning, Gardner made his thoughts on Rodgers’ minicamp absence felt.

    Gardner is the first cornerback since the NFL merger in 1970 to be named a first-team All-Pro in each of his first two seasons in the league. He’s helped New York’s defense become one of the most feared in the NFL and is considered one of the best players across the NFL regardless of position.

    For his entire career, Rodgers has been that as well. Since tearing his Achilles four plays into his debut with the Jets last year, the 40-year-old signal-caller has been around the team’s facility and taken part in each voluntary workout.

    It’s what made his absence from minicamp so surprising in the first place, regardless of whether his teammates have shrugged off that concern.

    Why Wasn’t Rodgers at Minicamp?

    It is still a big unknown why Rodgers was not at mandatory minicamp with the Jets this past week. The most the Jets have disclosed is that it was a trip that Rodgers had scheduled during his rehab from his Achilles injury last year.

    New York had been notified of Rodgers’ scheduled absence for months.

    Part of the reason why the story itself had caught fire was the Jets’ announcement of their starting quarterback’s absence. Instead of saying it was an excused absence and that Rodgers wouldn’t be fined, Saleh called his absence “inexcused” (obviously meaning unexcused) and said that he would be subject to a fine following the CBA on missed mandatory work.

    MORE: 5 Takeaways From the New York Jets’ Minicamp

    Had Saleh said otherwise, Rodgers’ absence wouldn’t be any different than the several players receiving an excused absence across the league over the last two weeks.

    His reasoning may still not be clear, and there’s reason to think he’s out of the country, but Rodgers’ absence at minicamp was one of the bigger stories of the last week.

    Is Rodgers’ Absence a Big Deal?

    As mentioned above, Saleh’s poor explanation of Rodgers’ absence made this story into something it was not.

    That being said, the Jets have continuously said they were unconcerned about the 40-year-old’s absence, and it’s clear that has been the main message.

    Rodgers is not the only older quarterback in league history to sit out of minicamp or voluntary workouts. Other future Hall-of-Famers like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady also missed offseason practices later in their careers.

    KEEP READING: 5 Breakout Candidates on the 2024 New York Jets

    By that understanding, Rodgers’ absence will mean nothing once training camp begins in late July for the Jets whether some in the media want it to or not.

    And at the very least, the Jets’ roster isn’t concerned at all, either.

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