The Definition Of Bittersweet: Eric LeGrand Retires
In a touching formality, former Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand officially retired from the NFL today. LeGrand was paralyzed in a game against Army in October 2010, and three months ago, current Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano offered him a symbolic contract. The contract had no monetary value, but Schiano coached LeGrand at Rutgers and felt it was the least he could do:
“Leading up to the draft, I couldn’t help but think that this should’ve been Eric’s draft class...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.”
Since the accident that broke two vertebrae, LeGrand has been a constant form of inspiration. He has worked tirelessly not only to get better, but to be a leader in the paraplegic community. Doctors expected him to be a quadriplegic for the rest of his life, but with the assistance of a metal frame, he now has the ability to stand up. In October 2011 he returned to the field at Rutgers in a wheelchair, a moment recognized as Sports Illustrated's Moment of The Year. In the ESPYs earlier this month, he received the Jimmy V Perseverance Award.
Although his retirement today is a reminder of just how unforgiving football can be, everything he has done since then has been truly astounding. He is a real inspiration, and at SportsGrid we are looking forward to seeing what he does next.
[Photo: Getty Images]
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