A statement released by the Buccaneers on Wednesday about the signing of an undrafted rookie began the same way most of them do.
There were stats and notes about the young man’s playing career, but Eric LeGrand isn’t your usual undrafted free agent so things took a different turn at the end of the first paragraph. While playing for Rutgers in 2010, the defensive tackle suffered a serious spinal cord injury in a game against Army and was paralyzed as a result.
LeGrand’s story is well known and he has made stunning progress since his injury. He began breathing on his own faster than expected, he’s been able to stand with assistance and he led the Scarlet Knights onto the field for a game last season. He’ll never play a down for the Buccaneers, of course, but Greg Schiano, who coached LeGrand at Rutgers, explained the reason for the move.
“Leading up to the draft, I couldn’t help but think that this should’ve been Eric’s draft class,” said Schiano in the statement from the team. “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.”
It might be a small gesture, but sometimes those are the ones that wind up meaning the most.