TAMPA (CBSMiami) – Pro sports often gets a bad rap for the number of arrests and bad behavior of the players and teams. But sometimes, a team does something that has the potential to inspire millions.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did just that Tuesday morning when they signed former Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand. The former Scarlet Knight defender isn't your typical free agent signing.
LeGrand was playing for Rutgers in 2010 when he went to make a tackle on an Army player during a kickoff. LeGrand lowered his head and hit an Army player, but he immediately crumpled to the ground. He had suffered a devastating spinal cord injury and was paralyzed as a result.
LeGrand didn't let it slow him down though. He began breathing much faster than expected and eventually worked with physical therapists to be able to stand with assistance. He led the Scarlet Knights onto the field for a game late last season.
LeGrand has ties to the Buccaneers because his former head coach at Rutgers, Greg Schiano, was hired by the Bucs during the offseason. Schiano knew that LeGrand would never play a down for the Bucs, but still wanted to give LeGrand something for everything he's done.
"Leading up to the draft, I couldn't help but think that this should've been Eric's draft class," said Schiano in the statement from the team. "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 is looking to make a mark in the NFL. His move Tuesday morning will go a long way towards endearing him to the fans, players, and fellow coaches in the NFL.
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