The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a fine gesture today when they signed Eric LeGrand to a contract as an undrafted free agent.
LeGrand, the former Rutgers player, was paralyzed from the neck down in 2010 while tackling a kick returner. He played for Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano. LeGrand has not walked in 19 months. The complete story is on the team’s Web site. He is now on the team's 90-man roster.
LeGrand looks to buck the odds. He’s already done so to a degree. He was told he’s never be removed from a ventilator after the injury. He didn’t need it after five weeks. Now, he’s hopeful to one day walk again.
“Leading up to the draft, I couldn’t help but think that this should’ve been Eric’s draft class,” Schiano said on the Bucs’ Web site. “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 is on schedule to graduate in the fall with a degree in labor studies. He is hoping to get work in the broadcast booth and IMG is working to help him achieve that goal. He is on Twitter @EricLeGrand52.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune