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Mauti thrilled to block punt with Gleason watching

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Saints linebacker Michael Mauti was just looking to make a play when he blocked a punt in the first quarter against the Falcons on Thursday and returned it for a touchdown.

But he also ended up giving an appropriate and deserved salute to one of the NFL's bravest in attendance.

Former Saints safety Steve Gleason, who blocked the memorable punt in 2006 when the Saints re-opened their stadium after Hurricane Katrina, was right there to see it. Despite a constant battle with ALS, Gleason's fighting spirit has never diminished.

Mauti, a Louisiana native, was at that game in 2006 and has always looked up to Gleason.

"That was probably the most electric sports venue I have ever been at," Mauti said, via NOLA.com. "I get goose bumps when I think about it, just a numbing sound. I have always looked up to Steve Gleason; he's a hero of mine. It's so special that he got to be here, and I grew up wanting to be like him.

Before the game, the NFL Network aired a short special on Gleason and a statue bearing his likeness outside the stadium. It's well worth your time.

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