SPOKANE, Wash. - The New Orleans Saints unveiled a statue Friday at the Superdome immortalizing Spokane native Steve Gleason and his legacy.
Gleason grew up in Spokane, played football and baseball at Gonzaga Prep and Washington State and then went on to spend his NFL career playing for the Saints on special teams.
For most of the country, it was a special teams play that came and went but when Gleason blocked a punt in 2006, a broken city was on its feet.
That blocked punt came in the first game in the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina.Steve Gleason statue unveiled
That blocked punt also led to a touchdown and made Gleason a local hero.
Now that play is forever immortalized in 13 and a half feet of bronze.
Current Saints players joined Gleason as he was honored Friday, standing alongside his wheelchair; his battle with ALS has sidelined him to the chair, but his battle has also inspired the nation.
"It's a symbol of commitment and perseverance that this community took on before that game," Gleason said.
"Things you do for yourself only stay with you. Things you do for others live forever," New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees said.
Gleason tweeted this week, that football is relatively insignificant in the game of life but, it's football that helped him rejuvenate a city and football that is bringing his message of hope to ALS patients around the world.