LeGrand Visits Buccaneers For First Time
TAMPA, Fla. — Eric LeGrand is making quite an impression on his new teammates.
The paralyzed former Rutgers defensive tackle who signed a symbolic contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visited the club’s training complex for the first time Tuesday. He addressed players following practice and later announced his No. 52 jersey will be sold on the internet with proceeds benefiting spinal cord research.
“If you never found any type of motivation before, listening to him talk is definitely a confidence and motivation builder,” Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. “He’s a strong-willed guy. He’s just a great person.
“We always complain about a bunch of nothing,” McCoy added. “For a guy to have the sport he loves taken away from him completely to be as happy as he’s ever been, what can we really complain about?”
LeGrand broke two vertebrae and suffered a serious spinal cord injury in October 2010 during a kickoff return against Army. He became an inspiration to his college teammates, eventually being able to stand upright with the help of a metal frame.
He resumed his studies via video conferences in 2011 and last fall led the Scarlet Knights onto the field before a game.
In May, the Bucs signed him to a contract with no monetary value.
First-year coach Greg Schiano left Rutgers for Tampa Bay in January and was looking for a way to honor his former player, who would have been eligible to be selected in the NFL draft this spring.
“Long before his injury and a lot of the notoriety that he’s received, this was a guy who came every day to our football building and had just a tremendous attitude. He was the energizer bunny. No matter how things were going — hot, cold, good, bad — this guy was always upbeat,” Schiano said. “I don’t know if this happened to me that I could be the man Eric is.”
LeGrand, flanked by Schiano at a news conference, reiterated how fortunate he feels to be part of a NFL team and to be able to impact the lives of others.
Tags: Tampa Bay Buccaneers