Steve Gleason to be featured on NFL Network

Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Coach Sean Payton and former Saint Steve Gleason lead the
Advocate staff photo by JOHN McCUSKER -- Coach Sean Payton and former Saint Steve Gleason lead the "Who Dat" cheer before the New Orleans Saints faced the Atlanta Falcons in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome Sunday, September 8, 2013.

Former New Orleans Saints special teams ace Steve Gleason will the subject of the NFL Network’s Emmy-nominated series “A Football Life” this week.

The one-hour show airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday with an encore presentation at 11 p.m. Also, “A Football Life: Backstory,” a special half-hour in-studio show that will air at 9 p.m., will delve deeper into Gleason’s story.

The show will focus on Gleason’s eight-year NFL career as well as his fight with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which he was diagnosed with in January 2011 — just 21/2 years after he retired from football.

Gleason, who helped lead Washington State to the Rose Bowl, became famous for his blocked punt in the opening moments in the Saints’ first game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome after Hurricane Katrina.

A touchdown off his block provided the impetus for a 23-3 blowout of the Falcons and eventually helped the Saints earn a spot in the NFC Championship game later that season.

Since his diagnosis, Gleason has been an advocate for ALS research. Through his Team Gleason foundation and “No White Flags” initiative, he promotes awareness of the disease and helps patients like him deal with the devastating illness.

“A Football Life” details the Gleason family’s reaction to the diagnosis, the deterioration of his physical abilities, how he’s able to communicate with others, and what his day-to-day life is like living with ALS.

Among those interviewed for the show are former teammates Drew Brees and Scott Fujita, Gleason’s wife and his parents, fellow ALS patient Kevin Swan, Gleason’s high school coach, and Dr. Jim Logan, one of his physicians.