The New York Giants will have 53 players on the sideline at Sunday's Super Bowl XLVI - and one wounded warrior they call their inspiration.
Ever since the Giants made their stunning run to a Super Bowl XLII victory in Arizona four years ago, Army Col. Greg Gadson has served as a rallying point for the franchise.
Gadson, who has served in the Army for more than 20 years, when he lost both of his legs after an improvised explosive device exploded near him in Iraq near 2007.
After he returned home, then-Giants quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan, who played with Gadson on the football team at Army in the late 1980's, invited his old teammate to speak to his team before a 2007 Week 3 game against the Washington Redskins. At the time, the Giants had stumbled out of the gates, losing their first two games.
At FedEx Field that day, the Giants scored a 24-17 win over the Redskins. With that, Gadson became an inspiration to the team. He served as a co-captain for the team for the NFC Championship Game in Green Bay. Two weeks later, he was on the sidelines when New York upset the 18-0 New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
He has the ring to prove it.
Four years later, not only are the Giants back in the Super Bowl, they're getting set to once again play New England. Gadson was on the sidelines in San Francisco two weeks ago when New York beat the 49ers in overtime, and he'll be there again this Sunday in Indianapolis.
These days, Gadson serves as the director of the U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program, which assists and advocates for injured and ill soldiers and their families. It's a job that requires the best of him and other who support the program.
But on Sunday, he says he'll be calm. It's just the Super Bowl, after all.For more information on the U.S. Army's Wounded Warrior Program, you can visit their website or like them on Facebook.