NFL's Buccaneers Sign Paralyzed College Player

Eric LeGrand of Rutgers gets symbolic contract
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2012 1:04 PM CDT
NFL's Buccaneers Sign Paralyzed College Player
In this Nov. 19, 2011, photo, Eric LeGrand, center, is greeted by then-Rutgers coach Greg Schiano before a game.   (AP Photo/Home News Tribune, Mark R. Sullivan)

(Newser) – Normally, when a football team signs a player to its off-season roster in May, it doesn't make headlines. It's different when the player is Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed from the neck down during a Rutgers game in 2010. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave LeGrand a symbolic contract so he could fulfill his goal of making the NFL, reports CNN. Why the Bucs? They're now coached by Greg Schiano, who coached Rutgers at the time of LeGrand's injury.

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"I said, 'Are you serious? You want to use this on me?'" LeGrand said. "(Schiano) said, 'It's the least we can do.'" LeGrand has done better than doctors thought he would—he was told he'd never get off a respirator, which he did after just five weeks, and he can now control a wheelchair and has even stood upright with assistance. He still plans to walk one day (his heart-tugging goal: to lie down on the very spot where his injury happened, and get up), and while he can't play football, he aims to find a career in the broadcast booth. (Read more Eric LeGrand injury stories.)

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