Paralyzed ex-Rutgers player Eric LeGrand signs with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Graham Watson
May 2, 2012

Like many college football players, former Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand always wanted to get his shot with the NFL.

On Wednesday, LeGrand, who was paralyzed during a game in 2010 and remains in a wheelchair, was given that chance.

Tampa Bay Bucs coach Greg Schiano, who also coached LeGrand during his fateful accident, signed LeGrand to an undrafted free agent contract.

"Leading up to the draft, I couldn't help but think that this should've been Eric's draft class. This small gesture is the least we could do to recognize his character, spirit, and perseverance. The way Eric lives his life epitomizes what we are looking for in Buccaneer Men."

LeGrand hasn't walked in 19 months, but has made tremendous progress since his injury, including sitting up for 15 minutes on March 27. His goal is to someday walk again and return to the spot at MetLife Stadium where he suffered the injury during a kickoff return against Army on Oct. 16, 2010. He wants to lie down in that spot and get up and walk away.

While the free agent signing is a symbolic gesture, LeGrand has a bright future ahead of him. He's working with Harper Collins Publishing in New York to publish a biography and has already been in talks with sports marketing company IMG about his budding broadcasting career. LeGrand did play-by-play for Rutgers home games last season and will continue to do so this year. He'll graduate in the fall with a degree in labor studies.

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