Steve Gleason, We Miss You

Chris OryCorrespondent IMay 13, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 1:  Steve Gleason #37 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates a tackle against the Tampa Bay Buccanneers during the first half of the game on December 1, 2002 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Saints defeated the Buccanneers 23-20.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

New Orleans misses their hard tackler on special teams. Steve Gleason always put his body on the line with every play he was involved in.

He was originally signed by the Colts in 2000. They wound up cutting him later that offseason. 

Jim Haslett had him come to training camp. Gleason earned himself a spot on special teams. The Washington State safety felt like he had to prove himself to the world after going undrafted.

Gleason might have only had 59 tackles. He played, though, in 89 games. His tackles came only off of special teams.

In 2006, after the Saints had not played a game in the Dome in 21 months, Gleason became a super hero.

This game was the most intense game many fans have said they have ever attended. Gleason set the tone for this game and for the season. All it took was one play.

Gleason, on prime-time football, made the biggest play of his career. He blocked the punt by Atlanta. The first punt of the night. Curtis Deloatch returned that punt for a touchdown.

New Orleans made it to the NFC Championship game. Many believe that the blocked punt is the reason that the Saints made it so far into the playoffs that year.

Gleason retired only because he had to. He has a neck injury and Gleason says that it is not worth the surgery to play again.

Be it fate, be it some kind of sports magic. Gleason carried the city on his back for one play. He might not have the numbers of a Hall of Fame player. Gleason, though, is in the Hall of Fame of many Saints' fans hearts.