Former New Orleans Saints Steve Gleason Stirs Emotion With Return

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Former New Orleans Saints Steve Gleason prepares to lead the "Who Dat Chant" on September 25, 2011 as QB Drew Brees(right) looks on (Source swxrn.images.worldnow.com)

This past Sunday showcased the five year anniversary of the reopening of the Superdome and a nail biting battle with the Houston Texans.  It was the return of a former New Orleans Saints player that really set the emotional tone.

When I heard that former Saints special teams ace Steve Gleason was going to be an honorary captain and lead the “Who Dat Chant”, I thought it was very fitting.  He had after all performed “The Block Heard Round World” five years ago.

Gleason blocked a punt by the Atlanta Falcons in the first 90 seconds of the game in that Monday night game and DB Curtis Deloatch recovered it for a Saints touchdown.  The Superdome erupted and Gleason ran along the field with outstretched arms.

On the way to the game, I discovered that Gleason had been diagnosed in January with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis(ALS) or what most of us know as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  What little I knew about this disease would hit me shortly.

My wife and I made our way to our seats and we chatted with our “Section 141 family”.  We laughed, talked and expressed excitement about the forthcoming shootout with the Texans.  We also discussed Gleason and how great it was he was here and his diagnosis with ALS.

The game began to start and my eyes searched for Gleason and his #37 jersey.  When I found him on the sideline preparing to walk to the coin toss, I don’t think I was truly prepared.

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Tags: ALS Atlanta Falcons Curtis Deloatch Drew Brees Houston Texans Hurricane Katrina Lou Gehrig Lou Gehrig's Disease New Orleans Saints Steve Gleason Superdome Team Gleason