The Buccaneers have signed defensive tackle Eric LeGrand to a contract.
If you just saw that sentence online and didn't know the history behind it -- you just missed a very classy move by the Buccaneers and Head Coach Greg Schiano.
On Oct. 16, 2010, in a game against Army during his junior season, LeGrand suffered two fractured vertebrae and a serious spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed.
Despite being told he would be a quadriplegic and resigned to a ventilator, LeGrand never quit working. Just five weeks after the injury, he resumed breathing on his own – without the ventilator.
Later, he even became able to stand upright with the help of a metal frame. LeGrand's dream is to once again go the Giants Stadium, lay down on the spot he was hurt and this time, get up and walk away.
LeGrand is still and always will be a member of the Rutger's family -- but now his family got a lot bigger, as he joins the Buccaneers.
"Leading up to the draft, I couldn't help but think that this should've been Eric's draft class," said Coach Schiano, who is the former head coach at Rutgers. "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 started studying again through online video courses and by Skype.
He got back on the football field on Oct. 29, 2011, one year after his injury, leading his team and Schiano out onto the field at Rutgers' stadium.
LeGrand also joined his fellow seniors on the field for Senior Day festivities prior to kickoff of a win over Cincinnati on Nov. 19.
You can follow Eric's remarkable recovery through his Twitter feed, @EricLeGrand52. For more information on LeGrand, visit www.scarletknights.com/Believe/.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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