Rich Eisen (@richeisen) May 02, 2012
Full press release below:
BUCCANEERS SIGN DT ERIC LeGRAND
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today that they signed college free agent DT Eric LeGrand.
LeGrand joins the Buccaneers from Rutgers University, where he played in 31 games. During his time with the Scarlet Knights, he recorded 60 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and three fumble recoveries, before his playing career ended prematurely.
On October 16, 2010, in a game against Army during his junior season, LeGrand suffered fractures of two vertebrae and a serious spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed. Despite being told that he would be a quadriplegic and resigned to a ventilator, LeGrand persevered and a mere five weeks after the injury, resumed breathing on his own. Later, he even became able to stand upright with the help of a metal frame.
LeGrand resumed his studies via video conference during the spring 2011 semester and continued to be an impactful member of the Rutgers football team during his senior year. He made his first return to the football field on October 29, 2011, one year after his injury, leading his team and Head Coach Greg 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 November 19.
“Leading up to the draft, I couldn’t help but think that this should’ve been Eric’s draft class,” said Coach 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.”
With the courage and determination shown throughout his rehabilitation, LeGrand’s inspirational story has garnered national attention. His return to the football field donned the cover of Sports Illustrated’s 2011 year-end issue, as it was voted the magazine’s Moment of the Year. LeGrand received the Most Courageous Athlete Award from the New Jersey Sports Writers Association in January and will also receive the Unsung Hero Award at the New Jersey Hall of Fame induction ceremony on June 9 for his representation of courage, strength and character.
LeGrand is planning to graduate next fall with a degree in labor studies and most recently partnered with IMG to help in continuing his broadcasting career. You can follow Eric’s remarkable recovery through his Twitter feed, @EricLeGrand52. For more information on LeGrand, visit www.scarletknights.com/Believe/.
A truly wonderful, heart-warming gesture by the Tampa Bay Buccaneer organization. We need more in sports. And the Twitterverse agrees:
Kathleen Schmidt (@Bookgirl96) May 02, 2012
Wow. Greg Schiano must have a HUGE heart. Signed Eric LeGrand to the Bucs roster.—
ZACampbell (@newvalleyblues) May 02, 2012
Eric LeGrand... Greg Schiano... Tampa Bay Bucs... Man, must be a lot of dust getting in my eyes...—
Scott Hays (@scott_hays) May 02, 2012
Great move by the Bucs signing Eric LeGrand. It's not always about the bottom line. Sometimes it's just the right thing do to.—
Kris Hughes (@KrisHughesRS) May 02, 2012
Classy move by Tampa to sign Eric LeGrand. I expect he'll be more productive than Albert Haynesworth was last year!—
Faux Trent Dilfer (@FauxTrentDilfer) May 02, 2012
Seriously though, the Bucs signing Eric LeGrand is testament to the young man's refusal to give up. Great story.—
(@SC_DougFarrar) May 02, 2012
Kelly Pickard (@kellypick21) May 02, 2012
Kelly Pickard (@kellypick21) May 02, 2012
And Eric LeGrand is trending. Love it! #GoBucs—
Denise T (@neicyt98) May 02, 2012
Allow me to follow everyone else on Twitter in saying how awesome it is to see the Bucs sign Eric LeGrand today.—
David Ely (@David_Ely) May 02, 2012
Sounds like LeGrand's mom and sister knew about this signing before LeGrand actually did.—
Eye on Football (@EyeOnNFL) May 02, 2012
Greg Schiano has always stood by Eric LeGrand. By signing him, even if it's ceremonial, just reinforces Schiano's commitment. That's strong—
Rick Brown (@LedgeronBucs) May 02, 2012
Nothing Greg Schiano accomplishes professionally will rise above what he has done for Eric LeGrand super class and great support. #bucs—
Pete Medhurst (@PeteMedhurst) May 02, 2012
We finish off with these:
Matt Sugam (@MattSugam) May 02, 2012
We ready!!! http://t.co/hVA7TmQC—
Eric LeGrand (@EricLeGrand52) May 02, 2012