Saints owner gives $5M to Steve Gleason's ALS project


New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson is donating $5 million to help former special-teams standout Steve Gleason -- who suffers from ALS -- and his foundation operate a Team Gleason House for Innovative Living within the local community.

According to's Peter King, the donation will be used as an endowment for annual operating costs of the home that will allow 18 ALS patients to live close to self-sufficient lives in rooms where almost everything -- computers, TVs, lights, doors, elevators -- are controlled by the patient's eyes.

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"Steve is part of our Saints family," Benson told King. "He suffers from a terrible disease but yet his focus and resolve is centered around finding a cure for ALS and helping others who suffer from ALS live full and prosperous lives -- and he is doing that right here in his adopted hometown of New Orleans. We could not be more proud of him and (wife) Michel and Team Gleason."

Gleason hopes it's not a project that remains singular to New Orleans.

"Call me crazy," Gleason said, "but I envision a facility like this in every NFL city."

Benson knows his money is going to the right man to help fight a terribly debilitating disease.

"Steve has this saying: 'No white flags,'" Benson said. "If someone is going to be behind finding a cure for ALS, it's going to be Steve Gleason."

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