Steve Gleason honored with Congressional Gold Medal
Kyle T. Mosley
Saints legend Steve Gleason was honored with the Congressional Gold Medal at Capitol Hill on January 15, 2020. Steve Gleason has been fighting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease for several years.. He has become an advocate for research for a cure against ALS. Today, the United States Congress
Saints QB Drew Brees, on his 41st birthday, spoke in honor of Steve Gleason. While the Saints were on the bus about to meet the Seattle Seahawks in a Wild Card playoff game in January 2011, Brees received the horrible news. Steve Gleason emailed Brees informing the Saints leader that they diagnosed him with ALS. Brees and the team were very emotional and later loss the game to the Seahawks, 36-41.
Gleason serves as an inspiration for many with his motivational tweets, candid one-liners, and the fantastic sense of humor while going through this painful and incurable disease. Steve and his wife Michel Rae Varisco have a son Rivers and daughter Gray. Steve and Michel lead the Team Gleason foundation.
Team Gleason has provided almost $10 million in adventure, technology, equipment and care services to over 15,000 people living with ALS and countless others through advocacy, support and and ultimately bringing an end to the disease.
Steve Gleason retired from the NFL after eight seasons in 2008. Most NFL and especially Saints fans remember Gleason for blocking Atlanta Falcons punter Michael Koenen’s punt when the team returned to the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and destroyed most of the Superdome. They have immortalized Gleason as a Saints player on the Mercedes-Benz Superdome premises in a statue named “Rebirth” for his heroics in that game where the Saints defeated the Falcons 23-3.
Most of all, Gleason energized a passionate Superdome crowd and instantly became one of the most memorable moments in New Orleans Saints history. The team had a rebirth that season and faced the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship game. New Orleans lost 39-14 on a cold and grimy day in Chicago.
Gleason's tenacity and grit will leave a wonderful legacy for New Orleans Saints fans and fans of the NFL worldwide. Steve Gleason will forever stand tall as a true legend in Louisiana sports history.