Patriots' Mac Jones deflects talk of hitting Sauce Gardner

ByMike Reiss ESPN logo
Wednesday, September 27, 2023

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones wasn't interested in revisiting New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner's claim that he delivered a low blow to him, a topic that was still resonating three days after the team's 15-10 win at MetLife Stadium.

Jones told reporters Wednesday that he was only looking ahead to Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys (4:25 p.m. ET, Fox).

"Just really focused on the Cowboys, trying to prepare for a good defense. That's my focus -- trying to control the controllables," Jones said. "I'm looking forward to just building this week. We have practice today. We have practice tomorrow and Friday. [Then a] game in a great stadium with a great football culture. So that's what I'm kind of looking forward to."

Jones, who has been accused of cheap shots in the past, had previously addressed Gardner's comments.

He said he was getting up after a hard tackle on a quarterback sneak and was saying "good job" to the defense. He said the area where he made contact with Gardner was unintentional.

Gardner's claim, combined with Jones being fined twice last season for unnecessary roughness and once for unsportsmanlike conduct, has re-ignited questions about Jones' on-field reputation around the NFL.

His teammates also deflected the topic Wednesday.

"Look, I haven't really looked at it that much. I was in the middle of a dogpile and had about 12 other guys laying on top of us after the QB sneak, so I didn't really see anything," center David Andrews said. "So you can ask Mac about that."

Added tight end Hunter Henry: "I'm focused on the Cowboys, just trying to focus on this week. That was in the past, so just focused on what we have to do this week."

Meanwhile, former Patriots safety Devin McCourty, who was teammates with Jones in the 2021 and 2022 seasons, was more direct when asked about what unfolded Sunday.

"I won't call Mac a dirty player because I know him personally and I think he's a good dude, he's a good kid. But I will say, he has to stop being around these incidents," McCourty said on sports radio WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show."

"It won't matter what any former teammate says, current teammate says; is it on purpose, did this happen, is it intentional? It's not going to matter, because once you're involved in too many of these situations, it is what it is. We can't come back and say, 'No, this is what it was meant to do.'

"There's a lot of players that have played this game, and they're not involved in any of these things. I think he needs to do a better job ... somewhere along the line in his competitive edge, he's doing things that you don't really need to have on the football field ever."

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