Steve Gleason

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Steve Gleason
No. 37
Safety / Special teamer
Personal information
Date of birth: (1977-03-19) March 19, 1977 (age 37)
Place of birth: Spokane, Washington, U.S.
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)Weight: 212 lb (96 kg)
Career information
High school: Spokane (WA) Gonzaga Prep
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)
Career NFL statistics
Games played83
Solo tackles59
Assisted tackles6
Stats at NFL.com
 
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Steve Gleason
No. 37
Safety / Special teamer
Personal information
Date of birth: (1977-03-19) March 19, 1977 (age 37)
Place of birth: Spokane, Washington, U.S.
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)Weight: 212 lb (96 kg)
Career information
High school: Spokane (WA) Gonzaga Prep
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)
Career NFL statistics
Games played83
Solo tackles59
Assisted tackles6
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 in the team's first home game after Hurricane Katrina. In 2011, he revealed that he was battling ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.[1][2] Gleason announced the Saints 3rd round draft pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Early years[edit]

Born and raised in Spokane, Washington, 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 home run record 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 1997 team that advanced to the Rose Bowl, the first for WSU in 57 years. Gleason was also a four-year starter for the WSU baseball team in center field and still holds the school record for triples. While at WSU, he was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.

Professional career[edit]

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 punter 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.[6] At the same ceremony he was awarded the key to the city of New Orleans by mayor Mitch Landrieu.[7] In July 2012, "Rebirth", a statue depicting Gleason blocking the punt, was raised 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".[8]

New Orleans Saints Bounty Scandal[edit]

Beginning in 2011, he collaborated with a filmmaker, Sean Pamphilon, to document his life with ALS for his unborn son, and a feature documentary they were co-directing. This included a twelve minute clip, filmed by Pamphilon in a hotel conference room before a 2011 Playoff game, of Saints defensive coach Gregg Williams, which included Williams encouraging his players to injure opposing 49ers players. The audio tape became public April 4, 2012 in the wake of the Bountygate scandal. Gleason criticized Pamphilon after the tape became public, saying that he did not authorize its public release.[9]

Present life[edit]

Gleason is married to Michel, a local New Orleanian. They had been trying to conceive when Gleason received the diagnosis that he had ALS. Their son Rivers was born in October 2011.[10]

In 2013 Gleason was given the opportunity to interview American rock band Pearl Jam regarding their tenth studio album, Lightning Bolt. The interview appeared in a short film about the album, also titled Lightning Bolt. On November 1, Pearl Jam headlined the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, where Gleason introduced the band and wrote their setlist.[11]

Gleason was featured in an episode of the hit documentary series A Football Life that detailed Gleason's career in the NFL and his battle with ALS. NFL Network aired the episode in late November 2013.[12][13] Gleason also appears in Microsoft's Super Bowl XLVIII commercial, praising the power of technology.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Steve Gleason diagnosed with ALS". Associated Press. ESPN. 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. ^ "Gleason gets Super Bowl ring at surprise party in New Orleans". NFL. September 27, 2011. 
  7. ^ Seattle Times - New Orleans Saints present ex-WSU player Steve Gleason with a Super Bowl ring - Associated Press - 2011-09-27
  8. ^ "Steve Gleason statue unveiled", Associated Press at ESPN.com, July 28, 2012.
  9. ^ [1], ESPN.go.com, April 13, 2012.
  10. ^ "Steve Gleason's Son Rivers Fuels His Motivation to Continue to Fight ALS". neworleanssaints.com. June 16, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Pearl Jam ruled Voodoo Fest's opening night, with help from New Orleans icon Steve Gleason". NOLA. 2013-11-03. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  12. ^ "NFL Films special on Steve Gleason to air Tuesday". The Times-Picayune. September 13, 2013. 
  13. ^ "NFL NETWORK’S A FOOTBALL LIFE SERIES PROFILES THE INSPIRATIONAL STEVE GLEASON". NFL Communications. November 21, 2013. 

External Links[edit]