In 2010, Rutgers University defensive tackle Eric LeGrand suffered fractures of two vertebrae and a serious spinal cord injury in a game against Army. Doctors told the then 20-year-old young man that he would spend the rest of his life on a ventilator and be confined to a wheelchair. LeGrand had other plans. Five weeks after the injury, LeGrand was breathing on his own and used a metal frame to help himself stand up. He has since returned to school and will complete his degree from Rutgers this fall.
Meanwhile, his former college coach, Greg Schiano, has been hired as the new coach of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As a rookie head coach, Schiano has a ton on his plate relative to draft picks, workouts, interviews, etc. That being said, he has never forgotten about LeGrand. In what can only be described as an act of pure class, Tampa Bay signed LeGrand to a free-agent contract on Wednesday morning. Watch what Greenberg and Golic of ESPN's Mike and Mike In The Morning had to say about the story (email subscribers click here).
The signing won't mean a return to the field for LeGrand. The risks are just to great for him to probably ever resume a football career. However, the signing does mark a return to a normal life. It also shows that an athlete's worth goes far beyond his ability to make tackles or sack the quarterback. Greg Schiano didn't forget that about Eric LeGrand and thank goodness Eric LeGrand didn't forget that about himself. Join us for the discussion on The Sportsmanship Network. What did a coach do in your life to prove you are worth more than touchdowns or three-pointers? Your story could help someone else. Until next time...
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