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Steve Gleason
No. 37     
Safety / Special teamer
Personal information
Date of birth: (1977-03-19) March 19, 1977 (age 42)
Place of birth: Spokane, Washington, U.S.
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) Weight: 212 lb (96 kg)
Career information
College: Washington State
Undrafted in 2000
Debuted in 2000 for the New Orleans Saints
Last played in 2007 for the New Orleans Saints
Career history
*Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
  • Honorable mention All-Pac-10 (1997)
Games played     83
Solo tackles     59
Assisted tackles     6
Stats at NFL.com

Stephen Michael "Steve" Gleason (born March 19, 1977) is a former professional football player, a safety with the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League. Originally signed by the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2000, he played for the Saints through the 2007 season. As a free agent in 2008, Gleason retired from the NFL after eight seasons. Gleason is especially well known for his blocked punt in a 2006 game that became a symbol of recovery in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. In 2011, he revealed that he was battling ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.[1][2]

Early yearsEdit

Raised in Spokane, Gleason attended Gonzaga Prep, where he earned consecutive defensive MVP awards as a linebacker in the Greater Spokane League. Gleason also played baseball at G-Prep and broke the GSL homerun recored his senior year. Following graduation in 1995, he accepted a scholarship to play college football at Washington State in Pullman.[3][4] Gleason was a starting linebacker for the 1998 Rose Bowl team. Gleason was also a four year starter for the WSU baseball team. Gleason played center field and still holds the WSU record for triples. While at WSU, he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.

Professional careerEdit

Gleason was signed by the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2000. He was released by the team after the preseason and was signed to the New Orleans Saints' practice squad in November.

Gleason was chosen by the Birmingham Thunderbolts with the 191st pick of the 2001 XFL Draft.[5]

On September 25, 2006, Gleason was responsible for one of the most dramatic moments in Saints history, when he blocked a punt by Atlanta Falcons kicker Michael Koenen early in the first quarter of a game at the Superdome. Curtis Deloatch recovered the ball in the Falcons' end zone for a touchdown. It was the first score in the Saints' first game in New Orleans in nearly 21 months, during which time Hurricane Katrina had devastated the city and the team. The Saints won the game and, unexpectedly, went on to have the most successful season in their history up to that time. Gleason did not play for the 2009 Saints team that won Super Bowl XLIV, but in September 2011, he was awarded a Super Bowl ring by the Saints. At the same ceremony he was awarded the key to the city of New Orleans by mayor Mitch Landrieu.[6] In July 2012, "Rebirth", a statue depicting Gleason blocking the punt, was erected outside the Superdome; a news report commented that the blocked punt "etched Steve Gleason into Saints lore and became symbolic of New Orleans' resilience in the face of disaster".[7]

NFL Bounty ScandalEdit

Beginning in 2011, he collaborated with a filmmaker, Sean Pamphilon, to document his life with ALS. This included a clip of a Saints locker room talk by Gregg Williams which exhorted his players to injure opposing players. The audio tape became public April 4, 2012, shortly after Williams had been suspended for his role in Bountygate. Gleason criticized Pamphilon after the tape became public, saying that the filmmaker did not have rights to release the tape.[8]

ReferencesEdit

  1. "Steve Gleason diagnosed with ALS". Associated Press. ESPN. http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/7018525/steve-gleason-formerly-new-orleans-saints-lou-gehrig-disease. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
  2. NOLA.com - New Orleans Saints cult hero Steve Gleason battling ALS - 2011-09-25
  3. Seattle Times - Gleason Grows Into Role At WSU - 1999-10-21
  4. Seattle Times - Ex-Cougars star Steve Gleason, suffering from ALS, gives some inspiring words - 2011-11-12
  5. Inaugural XFL Draft, oursportscentral.com, October 31, 2000.
  6. Seattle Times - New Orleans Saints present ex-WSU player Steve Gleason with a Super Bowl ring - Associated Press - 2011-09-27
  7. "Steve Gleason statue unveiled", Associated Press at ESPN.com, July 28, 2012.
  8. "Steve Gleason: 'I did not authorize public release' of Gregg Williams tape", CBSSports.com, April 6, 2012.

External linksEdit

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