New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott has never met paralyzed Rutgers linebacker Eric LeGrand, but something made him want to help him.
Scott became a bit of a sensation after last year's Jets win against the Patriots in the NFL playoffs. In an interview with ESPN's Sal Paolantonio, Scott exclaimed "Can't wait!" at the thought of meeting the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game. The off-the-cuff catchphrase took on a life of its own and Scott decided to trademark it and turn it into a clothing line.
Now he's taking all of the profits he's making from the "Can't wait" catchphrase and giving it to the "LeGrand Believe Fund."
"I've never met him but I heard he's a great kid," Scott told NFL.com. "He has a lot of concerns and needs right now, but I know someday he will walk, and that's something I can't wait for."
LeGrand was paralyzed on Oct. 16, 2010 during a collision with an Army football player on a kickoff. After an extensive rehab, LeGrand is back in classes at Rutgers, though he is confined to a wheelchair.
LeGrand does feel twitches and vows to walk again.
Scott said his first clothing line run will come out in the next couple weeks and will feature three different designs. He said 1,200 shirts would be produced for initial distribution.
"All the proceeds from the first run will go to LeGrand to help him," Scott told the website. "I want to do something for him, to help him. I hope we'll sell out the shirts quickly so we can get the money to him because things are expensive with his care, and I know there are money needs. For instance, he needs to refit the doors at his house for his wheelchair."
Several athletes have pledged to support LeGrand during the past year. Former New Jersey Nets point guard Devin Harris and several NBA teammates helped raise $75,000 for LeGrand's recovery. Former Giants wide receiver David Tyree ran the "Tough Mudder" obstacle race to raise funds.
LeGrand's injury also has started a movement to reexamine kickoffs in the college game. Rutgers coach Greg Schiano has pitched punting the ball from the 30-yard line for the opening kick, after scores and to start the second half. Georgia coach Mark Richt also supports the idea.
As for Scott, he's hoping his contribution can help LeGrand toward his goal of walking and ultimately being on the field again.
"I want to be able to see him lead his team on the field someday," Scott said. "That's something I'm looking forward to and I just hope to help him get there."
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- Bart Scott