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Eric LeGrand spreads a positive message to his Tampa teammates

Greg Schiano, Mark Dominik, Eric LeGrand AP

Buccaneers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand knew his hopes of playing in the NFL ended when he suffered a severe spinal cord injury during his junior season at Rutgers. But when LeGrand’s coach at Rutgers, Greg Schiano, became the coach in Tampa Bay, he decided to sign Legrand and treat him like a member of the team, and today that meant bringing LeGrand to practice and having him address the Buccaneers.

LeGrand’s message was simple: Play every down like it’s your last.

“I want them to appreciate everything they have,” LeGrand said at a press conference after his talk to the Buccaneers. “Not too many people get paid to do what they love to do every day. . . . Really appreciate that — don’t take for granted things that other people don’t have.”

LeGrand’s No. 52 Buccaneers jersey is now on sale, with proceeds benefitting the Eric LeGrand Foundation, which will fund research into spinal cord injuries and help people who suffer such injuries and lack health insurance.

Schiano said he has long viewed LeGrand as one of the most positive, upbeat players he has ever coached, and he thinks it’s important for LeGrand’s attitude to rub off on the rest of the team.

“This is a guy that I’ve known for a long time, a guy who played for us at Rutgers, and as I said to the team earlier today, long before his injury and a lot of notoriety that he’s received, this was a guy who came every day to our football building and had just a tremendous attitude,” Schiano said. “I don’t know, if this happened to me, if I could be the man that Eric is.”

LeGrand acknowledged today that there have been times when he was scared: “I didn’t know if I was going to die right there — is this going to be the end of my life?”

But now LeGrand says nothing scares him anymore, and he’s as confident in himself as he’s ever been.

“My next goal is to get back on my feet,” LeGrand said. “And that will happen.”

That’s the kind of attitude Schiano wants his other players to hear.

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34 Responses to “Eric LeGrand spreads a positive message to his Tampa teammates”
  1. cincyorangenblack says: Jun 5, 2012 2:25 PM

    this kid is an absolute inspiration to me, not as a former football player, but as a man. His outlook on life may have changed b/c of his injury, but he has an attitude that many folks in our country would do well to emulate.
    He isn’t sorry, and he isn’t pointing fingers…just staying positive and working as hard as possible to overcome this “obstacle” that life put in his path.

    God Speed Eric, I can’t wait to watch you walk again.

  2. ksmith013 says: Jun 5, 2012 2:27 PM

    Watched the press conference myself. Truly an inspiring story after what he has been through. Go Bucs!

  3. DCBlueStar says: Jun 5, 2012 2:28 PM

    Signing him was a class act by the home team, not a Bucs fan, but I do check on them from time to time.

    This was a great and inspiring story to hear.

    Hopefully he can lead the team onto the field for their opening home game.

  4. sportsmeccabi says: Jun 5, 2012 2:29 PM

    “Play every down like it’s your last”

    Well they’re offense already has plenty of experience reaching 4th down.

  5. realnflmaster says: Jun 5, 2012 2:29 PM

    I don’t think his odds are very good to make the team.

  6. jonkoethe says: Jun 5, 2012 2:30 PM

    better signing than Gerald McCoy

  7. milkmandanimal says: Jun 5, 2012 2:35 PM

    I’m buying a LeGrand jersey. As much as I tend to roll my eyes at “inspirational” stories, this move by the Bucs makes be glad I’m a fan of the team and I find this all to be just a wonderful gesture. Heck, I may have to buy my kid a LeGrand jersey as well.

  8. tbucs316 says: Jun 5, 2012 2:37 PM

    As a bucs fan I couldn’t any prouder of Coach Schiano and what he has done for Legrand. Good for you coach.

  9. JaminJake says: Jun 5, 2012 2:41 PM

    It feels like the Bucs are turning over a new leaf and doing it in a positive manner. You can’t put a price on character and that seems to be what they are looking at most when they build their team. LeGrand and Price should really help put things in perspective for their team mates and hopefully show the team their responsibilities as a person are jus as important as what they do on the gridiron.

  10. buchopeful says: Jun 5, 2012 2:42 PM

    I would like to meet some of the cowardly posters on this site… make jokes you little men. LeGrand is twice the man you are you piece of junk. :(

  11. getthegleam says: Jun 5, 2012 2:42 PM

    Looks like I’ll be buying and sporting, a LeGrand jersey.

  12. JaminJake says: Jun 5, 2012 2:45 PM

    sportsmeccabi says:
    Jun 5, 2012 2:29 PM
    “Play every down like it’s your last”

    Well they’re offense already has plenty of experience reaching 4th down.

    ___________________________

    I truly wish this last post was your 4th down and your receiver dropped the ball causing you to lose the game.

  13. godofwine330 says: Jun 5, 2012 2:55 PM

    This is good stuff right there. This is obviously no lame publicity stunt, this is an example of the man that Coach Schiano is. Great job, coach. Way to look after the men who played under you.

  14. tombrookshire says: Jun 5, 2012 3:11 PM

    I’m speechless after reading this. What a magnanimous gesture on the part of the coach. It gives the player a real role on the team and thus, hope and a reason to move on with his life. Wonderful.

  15. taintedsaints2009 says: Jun 5, 2012 3:11 PM

    The Tampa organization really did something great here. Bravo.

  16. jerrysandusky1 says: Jun 5, 2012 3:30 PM

    Hooray

  17. johnmaddenslovechild says: Jun 5, 2012 3:40 PM

    Good times.. If that doesn’t make you wanna get up and take advantage of your football career and make the most of it I wouldn’t know what will. Millions of dollars yea but you can’t buy passion for the game.

  18. bucfandango says: Jun 5, 2012 3:48 PM

    I also look forward to seeing Eric walk again. With a will like his, it should be soon. Win or lose, its nice to see the Bucs doing things the right way.

  19. baddorange says: Jun 5, 2012 3:52 PM

    Just saying, that while I applaud this move by the BUCS, lets see how these fans react if they go 6-10. This is a real possibility despite all the college Rah, Rah, Schiano brings.

  20. lioninnj says: Jun 5, 2012 4:09 PM

    I graduated Rutgers in 2005. I’ve been to a lot of games, and met Coach Schiano on many occasions. This man is a “what you see is what you get” type of human being. He is a great leader, motivator and person. I am not a Bucs fan, but a lot of people will think I am, because I will be sporting a LeGrand jersey, and not just at Rutgers games this coming season.

    Bucs fans, raise your glasses, you guys got a good one.

  21. gotampabay52 says: Jun 5, 2012 4:14 PM

    I am proud to wear my past #52 Bucs jerseys but I will now don the new #52 Buccaneer

  22. covercorner says: Jun 5, 2012 4:30 PM

    I’m not a Bucs fan, but I am proud of their actions involving Eric LeGrand.

  23. Deb says: Jun 5, 2012 4:35 PM

    Don’t have enough words to say how much I admire Eric LeGrand. The way he’s handled his situation has been a tremendous inspiration. Great respect for Coach Schiano as well. Hope this is the beginning of a long, successful tenure for him in Tampa.

  24. 69finfan says: Jun 5, 2012 5:04 PM

    Hey realnflmaster;
    I don’t think your odds are very good of ever being a useful member of society

  25. emmettotter says: Jun 5, 2012 5:05 PM

    I’m a Steelers fan with a whole lot of respect for this guy and the Bucs for keeping him in the family. It’s an honor to play in the NFL for any team, and this guy is a real inspiration.

  26. granadafan says: Jun 5, 2012 5:35 PM

    Class act by Schiano the Bucs for signing him as a free agent, and the NFL for allowing LeGrand’s name to be put on the jersey for charity sales. Normally the NFL licensing dept are real sticklers (ie., sue happy) when it comes to merchandising, but this was a good gesture.

  27. mediasloppy says: Jun 5, 2012 5:37 PM

    Real nice story and I hope they find a cure.

  28. phillyeagle212 says: Jun 5, 2012 6:02 PM

    Ok, I am all for the kid walking again. But it really starting to get a bit of a PR tactic now. Kid is not going to walk again and being used like a token.

    Serious people there are 100kids that have spinal cords injuries in sports. What made this kid so special is he did it at a college on tv and media coverage.

    Hope you walk again, but the Rutgers PR ex coach that was on the states books as a employee of NJ is joke.

    In the end its a photo op and nothing else…
    Next story…..

  29. pb420 says: Jun 5, 2012 6:25 PM

    Gotta love Eric’s mindset, as it benefits anyone on the field or off. Truly a role model. So proud of this organization, and it seems worlds apart from just last season when players were getting arrested and noone cared. I think Schiano will do just fine. Go Bucs!!!

  30. phillyeagle212 says: Jun 5, 2012 6:48 PM

    LeGrand take all that money and PR and help others instead of making it a YOU campaign

    Hey Rutgers , Crooked Schiano and NFL share the wealth

    Rasul “Rocky” Clark, who was paralyzed while playing football for Blue Island’s Eisenhower High School in 2000 and later fought an unsuccessful battle to keep his health insurance, died Thursday after undergoing surgery at Ingalls Memorial Hospital in Harvey, a hospital spokeswoman said.

  31. frankdatank23 says: Jun 5, 2012 7:07 PM

    Eric LeGrand is my hero. The skeptics arguing PR stunt are just totally in the dark on the matter. He’s a truly amazing young man that brings out the best in everyone.

  32. 69finfan says: Jun 5, 2012 7:17 PM

    Hey phillyeagle212;
    I know your odds of ever being a useful member of society are not very good

  33. totallydisgusted says: Jun 5, 2012 7:46 PM

    Class move by the organization. Hopefully they will give him some sort of admin position so he can continue to care for himself

  34. realnflmaster says: Jun 5, 2012 9:31 PM

    Hey 68finfan;
    you’re an old man. ahahaha.

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