Eric LeGrand: Football is a violent game and I love it


Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed while playing for Rutgers in 2010, knows as well as anyone about the serious consequences of injuries suffered on the football field. But LeGrand doesn’t want the game to go too far in changing the rules to make the game safer.

LeGrand began weighing in on the football safety debate this week after some football officials said that Jadeveon Clowney, the South Carolina defensive end who will be a top pick in the 2014 NFL draft, should have been ejected for his brutal hit on Michigan running back Vincent Smith on January 1. LeGrand went to Twitter to say that the game of football shouldn’t eliminate hits like Clowney’s, adding, “Take it from a guy who broke his neck.”

When LeGrand’s tweet got a strong reaction, he went back on Twitter and confirmed that he still loves the game of football, including the violence of the game.

LeGrand has become an inspirational figure for the way he has dealt with his injury, and when he signed a contract with the Buccaneers last year he said he doesn’t want kickoffs to change, even though he was injured on a kickoff. Some people might cite LeGrand’s injury as a reason to change the game of football, but LeGrand would not agree.

36 responses to “Eric LeGrand: Football is a violent game and I love it

  1. Hey “some football officials” … just because a hit is violent and causes a fumble does NOT make it a dirty hit!!!

    Every true football fan.


  2. Football is inherently violent and dangerous. Stop trying to make it something its not.

  3. This is the exact feeling of everyone who’s played the game at a high level / understands the history and what it represents. Its only people who haven’t who want it to change. To me, its a play at your own risk game, that you don’t play if you don’t understand the possibilites of injury. I played 17 years and never was injured, and coached players who played 1 down and blew out a knee. Its different for everybody. If the clowney hit was illegal, it wasn’t based on form; sounds like people are upset because of how fast and powerful he is. Better off making a weight limit per position than changing the rules.

  4. Soccer is a non collision sport but it is a contact sport and can also be violent.

    Football is trying to save itself.

    Eric, breaking your neck was a result from poor form. Not violence. Stick to USA Football and teaching Peewee coaches.

  5. I’m pretty sure it was violent hit. Something like that doesn’t happen by having poor form.

    LOL Soccer can be violent, yeah falling to the floor pretending to suffer a serious injury only to get up and be cured as soon as the ball passes right by you.

  6. Although that Clowney play was really nice, it’s is incredibly overrated.

    Someone blew their blocking assignment and he went in untouched. The Michigan coaches are to blame for that hit.

  7. wwwmattcom says:Jul 25, 2013 7:31 AM

    “Soccer is a non collision sport but it is a contact sport and can also be violent.”

    Soccer is NOT a violent sport.

  8. legrand is the poster boy for how NOT to play football.

    I commend the man. the inner strength it takes to get where he is , is unmeasurable.

    but that play, dude was trying to spear a ball carrier

    this Clowney rule, is nothing more than the further pussification of the sport.

    unless they are tko’d, each player better keep the head on a swivel.

  9. The real problem isn’t Goodell or the NFL. The problem is the thousands of former players that are suing the NFL because they were injured playing the game. If they all had LeGrand’s perspective, NONE of this would be changing.

  10. Hey wwwMattcum, first soccer is not a real sport it’s a game made for kids! And watch the tackle the guy he tackled was shifting and spinning he lowered his head (as we were taught) but it was just a freak event. #52 you are awesome, time to get your Bucs motivated get down here soon.

  11. Clowney gets to the quarterback at breakneck speed, take it from a guy who broke his neck

  12. Finally.. from someone that actually played the game and got injured because of it.

    It can STILL stay violent and fun but safe.

    This game is going to be flag football or deceased by the time Im 50.

  13. When people start calling legal hits illegal, you are actually able to see their motives.

  14. My daughter plays soccer and if youve had a kid in soccer you will realize it can be pretty hardcore. My 12 year old took a nasty t bone at full speed and got a concussion and screwed up her back. Granted it was a flagrant cheap shot, and it doesnt happen every game, but soccer can get violent. The only thing about football is that is designed for violence at the line of scrimmage every play. So football is a more violent, but after football probably comes socer or hockey.

  15. After football probably comes soccer OR hockey? Are you on crack? Seriously you must be on some incredibly mind-altering chemicals to suggest that soccer – a sport where contact between players is expressly forbidden as illegal in the rules – is even comparable to football or hockey, sports where contact is not just part of the rules, but an integral part of the game and one encouraged as a positive aspect from a playing perspective. Good grief man, I’m sorry your daughter was injured in -your own words- a “flagrant cheap shot” (although from your description it sounds more like she wasn’t looking where she was running) but don’t make a$$hat ignoramus statements just because your so weak in knees that as soon as your precious baby gets a boo boo the flopfest that is soccer becomes a violent blood sport. Grow a pair

  16. @budaku: Actually even the lawsuits aren’t the NFL’s biggest problem. At least the owners and league can lawyer up to defend themselves against those. What they have no defense against whatsoever is a future with a shortage of pro-caliber players because parents across the nation got the message that football is an inherently dangerous sport – and responded by simply not allowing their sons to play it.

    This is why the “players know the risks” argument is not enough to save the sport. The players do indeed know the risks – but now, so do the millions upon millions of non-players out there, whose children the NFL will need 15-20 years from now in order to continue to have a product to sell.

  17. greenmeattruck says:Jul 25, 2013 7:21 AM

    Hey “some football officials” … just because a hit is violent and causes a fumble does NOT make it a dirty hit!!!

    Every true football fan.

    Don’t blame Goodell, blame the players that are suing the NFL for their past injuries.
    The NFL now has to show they are doing everything possible to make the game as safe as possible to show in court they are doing everything they can.

  18. Personally, I think LeGrand is in denial. I’ve seen a lot of his press conferences, speeches, etc., and while he’s certainly trying to make the best of his situation, it feels as if he doesn’t fully accept what happened to him and tries to glorify it with comments like this.

    On a personal note, I saw LeGrand out in Hoboken, NJ about a year ago. He was so loud and aggressive (and so out of place) that it was flat-out bizarre. It unfortunately felt like a person who was either overcompensating for, or not fully at terms with, the fact that he was bound to a wheelchair.

    Football is an incredibly violent game that needs to be adjusted as players become bigger, faster, and stronger. Taylor Mays and Ryan Clark were not running around in the 1920s laying headshots into WRs running slants. The human body can dish out more force than it can receive and changes in the rules need to reflect that. LeGrand’s comments do not help that cause.

  19. @sportsmeccabi I believe they ran a stunt on the play, which is designed to free up a defender. Why downplay the magnitude of the hit because of the way he got there?

  20. yea lets change the rules…..players knew what they were signing up for, how can you blame a sport for your injury when you knew the risk when you signed up… what people are getting bigger and stronger on defense, that just mean these receivers and backs need to get bigger to balance it out, do you believe that clowney hit would have been as hard if he was hitting Jerome Bettis, or Alsott,or anybody over 230 lbs. life is about adapting and if I know my opponent is getting bigger faster guess what I’m doing…lets stop blaming genetic improvements and start adapting, you know the risk before you even touch the field if you still do it it’s on you

  21. There is a risk in everything that we do. We do not outlaw driving because there are accidents. We try to make better safety features. What the NFL needs to do is not go and find ways to change the game, but put their focus on better padding or better helmet design. The NFL refuses to change the helmet apparently because it takes away the noise on some hits. That right there tells you what comes first in their minds. They already kind of missed the kickoff…no pun inntended

  22. soccer / futbol
    is one of the toughest sports in the game.

    the issues americans have with that sport,, is the whining and flopping that these players do to get calls.

    I mean hell, ’embellishment’ is a penalty in hockey.
    Football players hide injuries to play,,

    then soccer players flop all over

  23. LeGrand…… please just go away…. Ive never seen someone take advantage of a situation so much you did to yourself. Football is violent…. and people get hurt… but when you put your neck down and tackle below the hips… results are you are in a wheelchair… no sympathy for a dope kid who sucked … had no shot at the nfl… and is milking people’s sympathy for a stupid tackle .. that resulted you being a quad…. nice try Rutgers university for making this kid a scape goat and marketing tool to get your enrollment rate up….its getting old… news legrands family gets new house paid by university and tax payer money… now what about the 100 other kids that get serious hurt every year…. I think they would have a different opinion than this dope kid…

  24. Clowneys hit was clean legal and violent, people who have never played football are trying to change the culture of the game, they don’t understand statements like that and want to do our thinkn for us, it’s the opposite really, let us do the thinking, because you never played football so your to mentally weak to understand go take some ginkgo biola and testosterone then come run your mouth

  25. The problem with the NFL is that the lawyers are now running and attacking the league. They freaked out when the concussion lawsuits came and made Gooddell overreact with his absurd rules.

    It’s all about liability and….. money.

  26. Played against him in high school. Kid played rb a d lb at prob atleast 250lb and was damn good . Kid was a freaking bull dozer

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