Classy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sign Paralyzed Defensive Tackle Eric LeGrand

| by Alex Groberman

About a year and a half ago, Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand suffered career-ending, life-altering spinal cord damage.

Since then, his journey has been nothing short of amazing.

On a seemingly routine tackle during an October 2010 showdown between Rutgers and Army, LeGrand wound up fracturing two vertebrae and sustained an injury that he was told would leave him a quadriplegic. The damage was so bad, in fact, that doctors firmly believed -- and told his family -- that he would have to remain on a ventilator for the foreseeable future just so that he could breathe properly.

A little more than a month after that determination was made, LeGrand began breathing on his own. Then, slowly but surely, he was eventually able to sit and later stand up with the aid of metal device. Before long, he was making plans to return to school – ultimately doing that last spring.

On Wednesday morning, Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano made a move that commemorated LeGrand’s hard work and progress up to this point. In a special, heartfelt gesture, the Buccaneers signed him to the team.

"Leading up to the draft, I couldn't help but think that this should've been Eric's draft class," Schiano said (via ESPN). "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."

The Buccaneers inked LeGrand on Wednesday, May 2 (5/2) in honor of his college number – 52.

In a day and age when sports only seems to make mainstream headlines for the wrong reasons, it's great to see a classy move like this get the airtime it deserves.

(Kudos to ESPN for the find)

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