Eric LeGrand, 52, formerly of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights lead his teammates onto the field for the team's Senior Day celebration at Rutgers Stadium Nov. 19, 2011. LeGrand was paralyzed during a kickoff return in October 2010.
The Eric LeGrand story continues to be a source of inspiration. The former Rutgers football player, paralyzed during a 2010 game, was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the request of Greg Schiano, LeGrand's former coach at Rutgers, now at the helm of the Bucs.
LeGrand made his first visit to Tampa and his new teammates yesterday. I emphasize "first" because he expects there to be more.
Afterward, LeGrand said:
It was great to talk to those guys. … The main thing is I just want them to appreciate everything they have. Not too many people can say that they are a NFL football player, getting paid for what they love to do every single day. … That's something I always wanted to do, so I want them to really appreciate that, not take things for granted out there.
He made an impression on defensive tackle Gerald McCoy:
If you never found any type of motivation before, listening to him talk is definitely a confidence and motivation builder. ... He's a strong-willed guy. He's just a great person.
We always complain about a bunch of nothing. For a guy to have the sport he loves taken away from him completely to be as happy as he's ever been, what can we really complain about?
LeGrand also announced that his No. 52 Buccaneers jersey will be available for purchase and proceeds will help to establish the Eric LeGrand Foundation, which will promote spinal cord research and provide assistance to injured people with similar injuries who lack the insurance or equipment.