I am a New York Jets sensation who taunts rivals but I saw a man shot dead and rivals don’t know my real name

Sauce Gardner and Ahmed Gardner – the same person but two very different personas.

The New York Jets star is one of the young superstars in the NFL.

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Gardner is a rising star in the NFL but such a big character away from the sportCredit: Getty

Fresh from being named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, finishing his first year at the Jets with 75 total tackles (51 solo), two interceptions, and 20 passes defended – no one else had more of the latter stat.

The 22-year-old was also named a first-team All-Pro – becoming the first rookie cornerback to land such an honour since Ronnie Lott in 1981.

That is Sauce – an incredible athlete with the world at his hands, ready to become a superstar but with an elite mentality to guide him to the top, who also has that playful side that makes him such an enticing character.

Then there is Ahmed, the altruistic spirit with ‘Empath’ tattooed on his arm, who hands out thousands in cash to the homeless and responds to stunned fans on social media.

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“Sometimes I’m just fighting battles with myself, like, you don’t need to do this for this person,” he told SI.

“It’s harder [to say no to] people I don’t know. Autographs, for instance.

“They have to pull me [away] because I just keep signing. I keep seeing [fans’] expressions. I don’t ever want it to stop.”

There is already a documentary in the making about his life and it is easy to see why.

Gardner watched a man die after getting shot at the age of 14

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Gardner watched a man die after getting shot at the age of 14Credit: Getty

Growing up in Detroit, Gardner was traumatised when he saw a man shot to death outside a shop at the age of 14.

“The area I grew up in, the worst part of the east side of Detroit, there was a lot of violence, a lot of killing going on, and a lot of drug selling.

“I just remember going to the barbershop on the corner of Bishop, getting a haircut.

“Then I remember walking out and looking to my right and there was a guy trying to rob another guy. He didn’t even have a gun when he tried to rob him, he was just tapping his pockets and the other guy pulled his gun out and shot him.

“I just stood there for a little bit and then I bent the corner and went to my house. This is when I was 14 years old about to be 15 when I saw it happen.

“I was young when I saw it happen but I understood what came with the streets.

“I have family members that were in the streets, I had some of my boys in the streets.

“I knew a number of different jails come behind that. It just all made me appreciate life more.

“Behind all the smiles and all that I someone who has seen a lot of stuff and been through a lot of stuff.”

It was that experience that steered him away from gangs and drugs.

Instead, he devoted his life to helping people where he can, reading passages from the Bible in his spare time and never letting anyone down.

“You know a lot of people trying to get to where I’m at today,” Gardner said. “I’m trying to be the perfect example.”

Gardner impressed in his rookie season with the Jets but remains level-headed

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Gardner impressed in his rookie season with the Jets but remains level-headedCredit: Getty

Gardner earned his nickname at the age of six from a youth football coach due to his ability on the pitch.

It has led to an endorsement with sports bar chain Buffalo Wild Wings, who together have released a sticky sweet BBQ sauce – called Sauce Sauce.

Some rivals are even unaware it’s not his real name.

After a stellar matchup against Ja’Marr Chase, the Bengal commented: “He’s a good player overall, he plays a little scrappy, that’s kinda cool of him.

Chase and Gardner had a great bout in the third week last season

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Chase and Gardner had a great bout in the third week last seasonCredit: Getty

“I don’t know about the nickname though, if that’s what people call him. I don’t even know his first name because y’all call him Sauce.”

Gardner might have spent just one year in the NFL but he is not without his cheeky side as well, taunting Green Bay Packers after breaking up three passes.

In celebration, he jumped into the stands and grabbed a cheesehead – sacrilege to Packers fans – and donned it.

After teasing the crowd and trying to run down the tunnel, Packers receiver Allen Lazard – now a Jets teammate – chased him down and knocked it off his head.

Gardner has his cheeky side too, taunting the Packers by taking a cheesehead

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Gardner has his cheeky side too, taunting the Packers by taking a cheeseheadCredit: Getty
You could say that Gardner helped make Rodgers' mind up over a move to New York Jets

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You could say that Gardner helped make Rodgers’ mind up over a move to New York JetsCredit: Twitter/@nyjets

While the Packers might be fuming, it even led to the Jets enticing one of their best-ever players – Aaron Rodgers.

Gardner, who was desperate for the four times NFL MVP to join him in New York, said: “First thing I did, I texted him a picture of the cheesehead.

“And he said, ‘LOL why do you still have that?’ I told him, ‘Hey, you become a Jet, I’ll burn it. You don’t have to worry about it.’ ”

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What would follow? Rodgers’ time at Packers had come to an end and he signed for the Jets in April. Gardner burned the cheesehead on his YouTube page.

And that’s the Sauce, the cheeky chappy hellbent on reaching the top and mingling with superstars, but without Ahmed, there is no Sauce.

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