September 25, 2006 is one of the most memorable moments in Saints history. Our beloved Saints return home to the Superdome after a tragic 2005 for both the Saints and for many of the faithful fans affected by Hurricane Katrina. The Saints, who were 2-0 at the time, faced a tough Atlanta Falcons team that also started off hot with a 2-0 record. The Falcons have not given up a touchdown in the first two games.
Atlanta's first drive was a three and out. As Michael Koenen lined up to punt deep in their own territory, Steve Gleason did this. (Hey, feel free to click on the link there, but you know what happens next. Still gives me goosebumps)
There it was. A minute and a half into the game, it was the first touchdown allowed by the Falcons in 2006. On that magical night, it was the Falcons who would be held without a touchdown. Saints win 23-3.
As a long time Saints fan, that was the moment that made me feel optimistic that things were about to change. Arguably one of the greatest moments in Saints history. There is fight in this team. That same fight is in Steve Gleason every day.
In his seven year career as a Saint, Gleason did block 4 kicks. He was a solid special teams player, but only started one game in a Saints uniform (in 2005). These are hardly the accolades expected for a team's Hall of Fame.
(The players in the Saints Hall of Fame are listed here. Congratulations to La'Roi Glover, who will be the 2013 inductee.)
In January of 2011, Gleason was diagnosed with ALS, a terminal disease that eventually takes away voluntary motor functions. At certain stages, those affected with this horrible disease can still process emotion and thoughts just like you and I can, but they are unable to voluntarily move to react to how they feel. As of now, there is no cure.
Steve Gleason is doing his part in making a difference in the fight against ALS. His organization, Team Gleason, combines informing the public of this horrible disease with stories and feats of inspiration. At a time where he can be mentally weak and hopeless, Steve Gleason's strength inspires so many to move closer towards finding a cure.
You can help make a difference towards this cause. Go to www.teamgleason.org. Even if you are unable to donate, the stories here are of remarkable courage. Steve Gleason defines what courage is.
I know people who can't name five Saints on the current roster, but know who Steve Gleason is. That alone makes him Hall of fame worthy, right?
I will always see Steve Gleason as a Saint, on the field and off. I hope that if the Saints do not induct him into the Saints Hall of Fame in 2014, that he will eventually be honored with his spot. Let's do what's right and let this great man's legacy live on. Saints Hall of Fame 2014.