Tampa, FL – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed defensive tackle Eric LeGrand, a former Rutgers player who had his career cut short by a paralyzing injury in 2010.
LeGrand played under new Bucs head coach Greg Schiano.
"Leading up to the draft, I couldn't help but think that this should've been Eric's draft class," Schiano said in a statement Wednesday. "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."
In an October 16, 2010 game against Army, LeGrand suffered fractures of two vertebrae and a serious spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed. Despite being told he would be a quadriplegic and resigned to a ventilator, LeGrand resumed breathing on his own just five weeks after the injury and later was able to stand on his own with the support of a metal frame.
LeGrand returned to Rutgers a year after his injury and led his team onto the field on October 29, 2011, also joining his fellow seniors for Senior Day on November 19. He has resumed his studies at Rutgers and is planning to graduate next fall with an eye toward a broadcasting career.
In 31 games during his brief playing career, LeGrand recorded 60 tackles with 2 1/2 sacks and three fumble recoveries.