Eric LeGrand, Paralyzed DT, Signs With Tampa Bay Bucs
Eric LeGrand broke two vertebrae and suffered a serious spinal cord injury during a college football game in 2010 that left him paralyzed. The former Rutgers player, who is still fighting to regain the ability to walk, has just been signed to the Tampa Bay Bucs.
ESPN reports that Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano offered LeGrand a spot on the roster Wednesday morning. Schiano was LeGrand’s coach when he was injured at Rutgers and the two have remained close.
“Coach Schiano is like a father figure… Going into Rutgers as a little boy and now I’m coming out a man. In life you can’t control what cards you’re dealt. He helped me with all that.”
The contract doesn’t come with any money and LeGrand isn’t expected to join the Bucs on the field anytime soon. Schiano said that the contract was a “small gesture to recognize (LeGrand’s) character, spirit and perseverance.”
“I wasn’t supposed to do any of this. This is exciting for me.’’
According to ESPN, LeGrand was initially told that he would be paralyzed and would have to breathe with the help of a ventilator for the rest of his life. LeGrand started breathing on his own five weeks after his injury and is now fighting to walk again.
“I’m going to keep fighting. I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but I know it is going to happen.’’
LeGrand is finishing up his degree at Rutgers and hopes to work in sports broadcasting. He is expected to graduate this Fall.