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DBroncos4life
05-02-2012, 11:57 AM
http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2012/05/02/buccaneers-sign-paralyzed-rutgers-player-eric-legrand/

[Updated at 1:14 p.m. ET] Eric LeGrand's football coach at Rutgers helped him emotionally in the months after his on-field paralysis. Now the coach is symbolically helping him realize his dream of making it to the NFL.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, now coached by ex-Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, announced Wednesday they've signed the former defensive tackle who was partially paralyzed in a 2010 game to their 90-man off-season roster.

Schiano, who joined the Buccaneers this year after more than a decade with Rutgers, offered the symbolic deal to his former player by phone on Tuesday, LeGrand told reporters in a conference call.

"I said, 'Are you serious? You want to use this on me,'" LeGrand said. "(Schiano) said, 'It's the least we can do.'

"Honestly, it's amazing. It really is," he said.

LeGrand collided with an Army kick returner while making a tackle on October 16, 2010, injuring his spinal cord and leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. At the hospital, medical personnel told him he he'd be a quadriplegic and would need a respirator for the rest of his life.

But LeGrand progressed, breathing on his own after five weeks. He operates a wheelchair, and he's been able to stand upright with the help of a metal frame. With medical bills are paid with donations to two foundations, including Rutgers' Eric LeGrand Believe Fund, and he says his ultimate goal is to walk again. He told Sports Illustrated in November that he wanted to return to the spot on the field where he was injured, lie down, and get up and walk away.

November 2011: 'Do not sweat the small stuff,' LeGrand tells HLN

He returned to the Rutgers field in his wheelchair twice: on October 29, leading his team onto the gridiron, and on November 19 for Senior Day festivities before the Scarlet Knights' win against Cincinnati.

LeGrand, who intends to graduate from Rutgers in the fall and hopes to pursue a career in football broadcasting, said Wednesday the signing is only honorary and no money is involved. The team is sending him a jersey with his No. 52 –expected to arrive at his New Jersey apartment this week – and he already has posted to Facebook a picture of him with a Buccaneers helmet.

Schiano said that heading into last week's NFL draft, he "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," Schiano said in a Buccaneers news release Wednesday.

LeGrand had hopes of making it to the NFL as a player. He had 60 tackles – 11 for a loss – 2.5 sacks and three fumble recoveries in 31 games before his injury as a junior.

He's not sure whether the Buccaneers have any non-playing role in mind for him. He says he appreciates the gesture from Schiano, who he says has been "like a father to me." The coach had talked to him almost weekly and also keeps in touch with his family, LeGrand said.

"(Schiano had taught me that) when you're faced with adversity, to not back down. ... He helped me and my whole situation," LeGrand said.

And now, symbolically at least, he's following his coach to the pros.

hades
05-02-2012, 12:05 PM
Just read that on Yahoo, that was a nice thing to do for sure.

maher_tyler
05-02-2012, 12:06 PM
Reading that gave me goosebumps. Great story and a very nice gesture from the Bucs to do this!

Mogulseeker
05-02-2012, 12:18 PM
The Buccaneers are the opposite of the Saints.

Lestat
05-02-2012, 12:23 PM
classy move by Schiano. hopefully the kid can regain all his ability to walk, move around & etc. would probably make a very good play by play guy or analyst.

schaaf
05-02-2012, 12:39 PM
The kid is a huge Broncos fan, it would have been cool if we could have done that

Mogulseeker
05-02-2012, 12:46 PM
I think this man deserves a standing ovation.

Oh wait.


Also, I can say that, because according to wikipedia, his recovery is going well. And he's getting monies as well. Good on the Bucs, and I hope he fully recovers quickly.

Tombstone RJ
05-02-2012, 12:52 PM
very classy move by the Bucs.

broncosteven
05-02-2012, 01:04 PM
I know it was symbolic but does he get a contract and some money to help pay the healthcare bills or was it just a nice thing to do?

Either way it was nice but betting the kid could use some help with the bills.

Tombstone RJ
05-02-2012, 01:09 PM
I know it was symbolic but does he get a contract and some money to help pay the healthcare bills or was it just a nice thing to do?

Either way it was nice but betting the kid could use some help with the bills.

the article says it is symbolic in nature and nothing else.

Bronco Boy
05-02-2012, 01:30 PM
Yet another DT we missed out on. Come on EFX...

Stuck in Cali
05-02-2012, 02:17 PM
Nice read. Very classy thing to do. Hope his rehabilitation continues to go well for him.

Mogulseeker
05-02-2012, 02:35 PM
the article says it is symbolic in nature and nothing else.

He's taking a roster spot, and therefore requires the rookie minimum.

If he isn't getting paid, then that kind of diminishes the value of this.

BroncoBeavis
05-02-2012, 02:42 PM
I know it was symbolic but does he get a contract and some money to help pay the healthcare bills or was it just a nice thing to do?

Either way it was nice but betting the kid could use some help with the bills.

Maybe I misunderstand the nature of this stuff, but I can't believe Rutgers' insurance wouldn't have to cover the guy's medical bills. If not, the NCAA should set up an insurance pool for all its players with all the dough it rakes in.

They rake all the cash, pay the players nothing, and then if a player's incapacitated while making them bank, they're cut loose?

It can't really work that way.

canadianbroncosfan
05-02-2012, 04:37 PM
Pure class, glad to see that it!

Mogulseeker
05-02-2012, 11:32 PM
I read the article now... the player isn't getting paid.

I hope the school or the NCAA or something is picking up his medical bills. Send him down to that elite hospital in Bethesda that operates on all the members of congress' ailments.

Just saying, a symbolic contract doesn't let him walk again, nor does it pay his medical bills.

broncocalijohn
05-03-2012, 12:06 AM
Yet another DT we missed out on. Come on EFX...

NLOL!

I wonder what crap the Boston Bruins or Chiefs fans can say about what the Bucs did for him.

Oh, for the Tampa Bay Bucaneers....

Broncos_OTM
05-03-2012, 05:47 AM
wow, you'd think the school would be liable for the doctor bills. yes he is getting a education but he's now also handicapped. horrible stuff man.

hope the guy is able to fulfill his dream to walk again