A little over four months into 2012, we have a new front-runner for Feel-Good Story of the Year, Presented by Kleenex.
Eric LeGrand would have been eligible for the recently-completed NFL draft, but a spinal injury that left the Rutgers defensive tackle paralyzed from the neck down tragically ended any dream the player may have had of moving on to the next level.
Thanks to his former coach, however, LeGrand will get to symbolically live out that dream.
In a press release, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced “that they signed college free agent DT Eric LeGrand.” The Bucs are coached by Greg Schiano, who was the Scarlet Knights’ head coach when LeGrand’s playing career tragically cut short while covering a kickoff during an October, 2010 game against Army.
“Leading up to the draft, I couldn’t help but think that this should’ve been Eric’s draft class,” said Schiano in a statement. “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.”
What an amazingly awesome and classy gesture by both Schiano and the Buccaneers.
LeGrand will graduate next fall, and has embarked on what’s turning into a very successful broadcasting career. God bless Eric as he continues his remarkable and inspirational recovery, and God bless Coach Schiano for what he described as a “small gesture” that in reality is a pretty big — and really cool — deal.