On Tuesday, the Buccaneers signed Eric LeGrand,who played for new Bucs Head Coach Greg Schiano at Rutgers, to their 90-man offseason roster, adding him to a team full of accomplished athletes. What makes this signing unique is that LeGrand is currently in a wheelchair and hasn’t walked in 19 months. On October 16, 2010, he was paralyzed from the neck down while tackling Army kick returner Malcolm Brown in a game played at Giants Stadium. The full story is at the Buccaneers web site.
Schiano was the head coach at Rutgers from 2001-11, which means he recruited LeGrand, helped shape him into a young man and a football player and was part of his successes. He was also there when LeGrand was injured, there at his side in the hospital, and for many steps after, and is committed to being there for the rest of LeGrand’s recovery.
LeGrand hopes and believes his future ‘steps’ will not only be symbolic, but actual steps with is legs and feet. Though told after his injury he would never come off a ventilator, he was able to stop using it after five weeks. LeGrand believes he will achieve the same victory over the news that he will never walk again.
In a draft scouting report, LeGrand would likely get the highest scores for character, and that is why the Buccaneers signed him.
“Leading up to the draft, I couldn’t help but think that this should’ve been Eric’s draft class,” said Schiano. “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’s spirit, determination, and courage are inspirations to us all. His accomplishments while playing and since he suffered the injury are listed in the Bucs article.
In a time when we have spygate stories, player and team bounties, and innumerable stories of coaches being immoral, Schiano and the Buccaneers are just as imspiring as LeGrand. By making this move and by adding to LeGrand’s legend they show us all how we can help people help each other.
Well-Met Eric LeGrand, Greg Schiano, and the Buc’s front office.