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Buccaneers Sign Paralyzed Rutgers DT Eric LeGrand
Some are calling this the “feel-good story of the day.” I am calling this the “feel-good story of the year.”
It comes courtesy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who had themselves a solid draft by picking up the likes of strong safety Mark Barron and running back Doug Martin. However, they made their most impressive off-season move today when they signed defensive tackle Eric LeGrand to a contract. LeGrand’s playing career ended on October 16, 2010 when he suffered two fractured vertebrae and a spinal cord injury while playing at Rutgers University. He was told that he would be a quadriplegic and would remain on a ventilator, but perseverance allowed him to begin breathing on his own five weeks later, and not long after that he found the power to stand up with the help of a metal frame.
The remarkable progress of his recovery was put on display last season when he led his team onto the field prior to a game on October 29 against West Virginia.
Greg Schiano was on the sidelines for that game as the head coach of Rutgers, and as the current head coach of the Bucs, he was responsible for orchestrating the symbolic signing of his former player, who had this to say about the incredibly kind deed:
“It’s something I always dreamed about, go to the NFL and retire and become a sportscaster. Dreams do come true if you really believe. You do the right things in life, good things happen to you. [Schiano] really just did this out of the kindness of his heart. It’s really what he wanted to do. I had no idea this was going to happen.”
LeGrand’s signing with the Bucs will not include any financial compensation, but this appears to be one of those rare instances in sports contract signings where money takes a backseat to a player’s undeniable love for the game.
So with that being said, we’d like to thank Schiano and the Bucs organization for this feel-good story, which helped put a smile on our faces and the face of Eric LeGrand.
Hat Tip – [ESPN]