Buccaneers Sign Paralyzed Rutgers Tackle Eric LeGrand


Greg Schiano is going be a better player’s coach then we all thought. Raheem Morris was trying to be one of the guys and be a players coach that way. But Schiano already loves this team and although he left Rutgers to go pro, he isn’t forgetting the guys he loved before the Bucs.

On October 16, 2010, Rutgers guard Eric LeGrand went onto the field to play that Saturday’s game against Army not knowing it would be the last time he ever did so with the use of his legs. On the play that claimed the use of his lower body, LeGrand suffered fractures to two vertebrae and a unrepairable spinal cord injury.

LeGrand’s playing career ended right then and there. But his future didn’t.

Immediately after the injury, LeGrand was told he would be a quadriplegic. However just five weeks after that, LeGrand began breathing on his own and his improvements and determination to beat the odds grew. After he began breathing on his own, Eric LeGrand can now stand with the aid of a metal frame.

“Dreams do come true if you really believe.” LeGran said. “You do the right things in life, good things happen to you. He really just did this out of the kindness of his heart. It’s really what he wanted to do. I had no idea this was going to happen.”

But LeGrand had no idea what was in store for him. He resumed his studies at Rutgers in Spring 2011 and remained very close to Greg Schiano, his head coach at the time of his injury.

Greg Schiano sat in the Buccaneers war room and although a million picks were racing through his mind, one pick that wouldn’t be made hit him the hardest.

“Leading up to the draft, I couldn’t help but think that this should’ve been Eric’s draft class,” Schiano said. “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.”

So Schiano did something no one expected to happen, especially not Eric LeGrand who saw his football career end that October day. Greg Schiano called LeGrand and told him he really liked what he saw out him at Rutgers and would like him to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent.

“I said, ‘Are you serious? You want to do this?’ He said: ‘It’s the least we could do,’ ” LeGrand said Wednesday during a conference call. “I said I don’t even know what to say to you right now, coach. This is amazing.”

The Buccaneers made the signing on May 2nd to honor LeGrand’s jersey number at Rutgers. LeGrand will wear No. 52 for the Buccaneers this season and his presence sets the tone for the type of team he Buccaneers will be.

“It’s symbolic, something coach wanted to do and I appreciate that. It just shows the man that he is.”

If Greg Schiano hadn’t won you over yet then this seismic change front he previous regime in Tampa will undoubtedly win over all Buccaneers fans and demonstrates that a new era has begun in Tampa.