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Jets’ Sauce Gardner on covering Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle: ‘This is what I dreamed about coming to the NFL’

New York Jets rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner is making a strong impression in his rookie NFL season. But the first-round draft pick will be put to the test when he faces star wideouts Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle in Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins. 

Gardner told reporters Wednesday he’s ready for the challenge of facing some of the top wide receivers in the league. 

Sauce Gardner (1) and Ashtyn Davis (21) of the New York Jets celebrate after their 30-31 win over the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium Sept. 18, 2022, in Cleveland. 
(Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

“This is what I dreamed about coming to the NFL,” Gardner said, via the New York Post. “The goals that I have for myself like Rookie of the Year, All-Pro, Pro Bowl — all that type of stuff— I’ve got to go against guys like that in order to be recognized.”

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“It’s a great opportunity. Me and D.J. [Reed] and the rest of the secondary was talking about it. It’s a great opportunity to show the world what we can do.”

Gardner said during a press conference Wednesday he “appreciate[s]” the opportunity to play against challenging opponents.

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) runs after the catch during a game against the New England Patriots Sept. 11, 2022, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. 

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) runs after the catch during a game against the New England Patriots Sept. 11, 2022, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. 
(Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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“I appreciate it a lot. Some of my individual goals —  they line up with me going against guys as great as Tyreek Hill and the rest of the other receivers I went against so far. I’m looking forward to it.”

Gardner leads the Jets with five passes defensed. He’s totaled 15 tackles and one tackle for loss through four games as New York enters Week 5 at 2-2. 

New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner practices before a game Aug. 22, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J.

New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner practices before a game Aug. 22, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J.
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

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Waddle returned to practice Thursday in a limited role after sustaining a groin injury, and Hill was listed as a limited participant with a quad injury. 

The Jets are looking for their first 3-2 start since 2017.

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