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Saints legend and ALS survivor Steve Gleason to receive Congressional Gold Medal

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USA Today Sports

Saints legend and ALS survivor Steve Gleason to receive Congressional Gold Medal

NEW ORLEANS -- Former New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason, who became a leading advocate for people struggling with Lou Gehrig's disease after he was diagnosed with the paralyzing condition, will be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal during a ceremony on Jan. 15.

President Donald Trump signed legislation last year awarding Gleason the medal, which is the highest civilian honor awarded by Congress. U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy from Louisiana announced the date for the ceremony in a news release Friday, noting Gleason's struggles with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a degenerative neuro-muscular disease commonly referred to as ALS that left Gleason paralyzed.

"Steve Gleason has shown tremendous courage and resolve in the face of ALS. He has remained positive in the face of extreme adversity, inspiring all who hear his story," Cassidy said.

On the field, Gleason is best known for his electrifying blocked punt during the Saints' first game in the rebuilt Superdome after 2005's Hurricane Katrina. The city was still rebuilding from the devastating hurricane when Gleason dove to block a punt in the opening minutes of the game against rival Atlanta Falcons. The stadium itself had to be rebuilt after the storm tore open its roof as thousands of people sheltered inside.

The play was such an important part of the team's history and the city's recovery that it was immortalized in a 9-foot-tall bronze statue outside the stadium called "Rebirth." 

Gleason played seven seasons in the NFL -- all with New Orleans. He and his wife continue to live in the city where he's frequently seen at sporting events, fundraisers, Saints' football practices and other events.

In January 2011, he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, a struggle he documented in the 2016 film titled "Gleason."

Cassidy said Gleason worked with the Congressional Gold Medal Committee on the medal's design. It features Gleason in a Saints jersey. Images of a mountain and forest pay homage to his native state of Washington.

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Former Redskins QB Josh Johnson destroys Defenders in Week 3

Former Redskins QB Josh Johnson destroys Defenders in Week 3

Former Redskins quarterback Josh Johnson carved up the visiting DC Defenders for 278 yards and three touchdowns Sunday night in the Los Angeles Wildcats' commanding 39-9 victory.

The Wildcats obliterated Cardale Jones (13-of-26, 4 INT) and the Defenders, who fall to 2-1 on the season.

Johnson completed passes to eight different receivers, including William and Mary standout Tre McBride, who was traded from the Defenders to the Wildcats in the preseason.

McBride finished the night with five catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns.

Johnson played for the Redskins during the 2018 NFL season, suiting up for the final four games after the team lost both Alex Smith and Colt McCoy to season-ending injuries. Johnson led the Redskins to a 16-13 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars during Week 15, throwing for 151 yards and a touchdown.

Johnson was selected by the Wildcats in the XFL Supplemental Draft in Nov. 2019. 

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Former Redskins RB Matt Jones powers St. Louis BattleHawks past the New York Guardians

Former Redskins RB Matt Jones powers St. Louis BattleHawks past the New York Guardians

Former Redskins running back Matt Jones was a force on the ground Sunday afternoon for the BattleHawks in the team's 29-9 win against the Guardians.

Jones paved the way for the St. Louis win, rushing for 95 yards and a score on 15 carries.

Jones was drafted by the Redskins in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of Florida.

He impressed the coaching staff during his first year in D.C. (794 all-purpose yards, 4 total TDs) but struggled to hold on to the ball, fumbling five times. 

Jones was named the starting running back in 2016 after the Redskins decided to let Alfred Morris leave in free agency.

In his second season, Jones missed nine games with a rash of injuries and eventually lost his starting spot to Rob Kelley. 

He was waived shortly before the start of the 2017 NFL season by the Redskins, and he has been on the move ever since.

Jones and the BattleHawks head to Audi Field for a matchup with the DC Defenders on Sunday, March 8.

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