Saints unveil statue of Gleason punt block

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- The blocked punt that etched Steve Gleason into Saints lore and became a symbol of New Orleans' resilience in the face of disaster is now immortalized in a nine-foot statue outside the Superdome.

Gleason, who now has ALS, famously blocked the ball off of the foot of then-Atlanta punter Michael Koenen and into the end zone for a Saints touchdown on Sept. 25, 2006, the night the rebuilt Superdome and the city of New Orleans hosted an NFL game for the first time since Hurricane Katrina.

The statue, entitled "Rebirth," depicts Gleason fully outstretched in a dive, his hands smothering the ball as it leaves Koenen's foot.

Gleason says the statue symbolizes the commitment and perseverance of those who returned to the New Orleans area to rebuild after the storm.