NEW ORLEANS (WITI) -- NFL players may battle each other on Sundays, but they also consider themselves part of a brotherhood. Recently, Green Bay Packers Safety Morgan Burnett broke his road trip routine to reach out to a former player who is still a member of that brotherhood.
On a typical Saturday night in New Orleans, family members and friends hang out at the home of Steve and Michel Gleason. Their son Rivers is the star of the show. There are smiles all around.
But life for the Gleasons is anything but the "big easy." A New Orleans Saints player from 2000 through 2008, Gleason was diagnosed with ALS in 2011. The neuromuscular disease has progressed to the point where the former professional athlete answers yes/no questions by raising his eyebrows or blinking. He also uses a commputer speaker which he controls by moving his eyes -- a time-consuming process. Normal is difficult for the Gleasons -- but on a recent Saturday night, a visitor helped to brighten the mood.
Morgan Burnett plays safety for the Packers -- a position Gleason used to play for the Saints. NFL Films captured their first meeting.
After hearing about the challenges of ALS from his position coach, Darren Perry, Burnett has gotten involved with the ALS Association in Wisconsin.
"It's not about me. It's about bringing awareness to ALS and meeting Steve Gleason is the icing on the cake," Burnett said.
The recent "Ice Bucket Challenge" generated millions of dollars for ALS research, and Gleason and Burnett want to capitalize on that momentum.
"It's really big because you have a lot of young kids and you have a lot of NFL fans who watch NFL all day. Me as a young kid, I grew up listening and wanting to be an NFL athlete, so when you see NFL guys sticking together, taking the lead, you'll get people to follow," Burnett said.
The Saints and Packers may be rivals, but Gleason and Burnett are sharing the playing field in the effort to strike down ALS.
CLICK HERE to visit the "Team Gleason" website.
CLICK HERE to visit the ALS Association of Wisconsin's website.