I was never one to crush on pro athletes, except for my long-standing lust for now-retired NHL Star Pavel Bure.
Fast-forward to the fall of 2002: I’d been dumped and was in a state of disarray. While watching a New Orleans Saints exhibition game, I discovered #37, Safety Steve Gleason.
He was beyond cute and only a year older than myself (he’s now 34). Gleason gained cult status for his love of the city of New Orleans and his legendary blocked punt in the home opener in 2006 against the Falcons (the first time the Superdome had re-opened since Hurricane Katrina a year before).
This past weekend, I found out Steve Gleason has ALS (aka Lou Gerig’s Disease).
I was stunned. Someone that young couldn’t be battling such an illness. This past Sunday, the Saints made Gleason an honorary team captain for the game against the Texans and received a Super Bowl XLIV ring Monday.
I found myself getting emotional as the Saints came back during the second half to handily defeat Houston.
Gleason has founded his own foundation, Team Gleason, to help raise money and awareness to ALS. His wife is expecting their first child.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Gleason twice during the 2003 regular season. He was articulate, humble, and almost didn’t seem like a football player to me.
I, along with countless others, are praying he can battle this disease and win.