OT - Eric LeGrand (paralyzed while playing for Rutgers in 2010) signed by Bucs

Submitted by JHendo on May 2nd, 2012 at 10:33 AM

In a symbolic gesture, the Tampa Bay Bucs have signed Eric Legrand, who if you all remember, was paralyzed during play against Army while at Rutgers in 2010.  His story of being told he was going to be a quadriplegic on a ventilator his whole life, to now being able to stand with support resonates a lot with us Michigan fans because of Brock Mealer.  Greg Schiano and the Bucs just earned a whole lot of respect from me for making this move.




May 2nd, 2012 at 10:44 AM ^

Thanks for sharing. Schiano has set the bar now for what roles and responsibilities professional coaches should abide by when giving back to society.


May 2nd, 2012 at 10:47 AM ^

This is a great gesture by Schiano.  I have always respected that guy even though he declined the interview with us a few years back.  I am not all that familiar with the way this works though, would LeGrand get a league minimum salary or anything financially, or what exactly comes with this?  Paid or not, I love when NFL and MLB teams do things like this.


May 2nd, 2012 at 10:57 AM ^

I have mixed feelings about this kind of stuff.  On one hand, we have a touching gesture that Eric probably appreciates as a sign of recognition.  On the other, we have a PR person for the Bucs realizing they can capitalize on his condition by doing so and garnering some positive press from the situation.

Maybe I am a homer and maybe it speaks to how we view the two leagues, but I think that the NFL doing this seems less genuine than when Michigan had Brock Mealer.  Maybe that paints me as an eternal pessimist, but I guess I never trust a PR person's intentions...


EDIT: Didn't realize the Schiano connection.  This feels more genuine to me now.


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:02 AM ^

Yeah, when Schiano said stuff like how he realized this would have been Eric's draft class, and I'm sure Schiano knew that Eric had dreams of being an NFL player, it makes the story more genuine. They even signed him on May 2 (5/2) to commemorate his college number (52). 


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:07 AM ^

Yeah, in this instance I agree completely.  I'm sure coach Schiano was very close to LeGrand and this was just his tribute.  But for me, benefitting from someone else's condition without a tie to that person falls in that gray area.

I give, for example, that Scotty McCreery kid from American Idol.  He sang a song with a bunch of mentally disabled kids and the song became a minor hit.  I have to believe some exec somewhere thought "We can really use these kids to launch a career".  That to me is not cool, and is self serving.

I guess this is not the forum for this discussion, but it is something that has always made me kind of mad.


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:05 AM ^

While true most "corporate" gifts are always given with what the intent of maximizing PR benefit.  Most businesses/rich donors do not give for the sake of giving, they do it for the PR and the tax breaks. 

What Schiano did here was classy in the sense this kids goal was to make it to the NFL and because of a horrible accident playing the game he was unable to achieve that goal, now with this move he can say he made his dream come true and continue to provide inspiration to other quadrapelgic's. 

What Michigan did was based on the mantra of taking care of our own in times of need but I would say that as it is Schiano's former player he is still taking care of his own family.


EDIT: noticed you edited your comment after you saw the Schiano connection. 


May 2nd, 2012 at 6:51 PM ^

Do you have a link to support your assertation around the giving habits of rich people and corporations? Because, frankly, the facts don't support your claims. I've worked with big corporations that give for lots of complex motivations, of which tax and PR are certainly included but not exclusive. Corporations are made up of people with a mixture of motiations, as is society in general.

On the rich person side, about 10% of major donors ($1MM+) do so anonymously, and many big named donors are identified because they demand results for their donations. 

Certainly *some* donors give for the PR benefit but no where near the *always* you assert.



May 2nd, 2012 at 10:55 AM ^

Glad to see he appears set to graduate as well.

Standing with support and graduating from a good college is pretty terriffic for a guy who was told he most likely had lost so much.

It's great to see people like Schiano doing good things for the sake of doing good things!  Staying involved in his life, and giving him this symbolic honor means a lot- which is the type of things that coaches should do- but far too often seem uninterested in doing.

Thanks for the hump-day feel good news story!


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:12 AM ^

Awesome gesture. Classy move by Schiano and the Bucs.

My question is, is this just a symbolic signing? Or does he actually have a contract with the team? My assumption is that it's just symbolic, but people are talking like he's actually a Tampa Bay Bucaneer.


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:13 AM ^

Classy move by Schiano. With all of the awful things that have happened recently in sports, specifically football, it's nice to know that good people still exist in the profession.


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:16 AM ^

Schiano said "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."

What the heck is a "Buccaneer Man"?


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:18 AM ^

Well, that's obvious:

A)  Someone that attended the University of Buccaneer and graduated with a degree

B)  Someone that lives and breathes University of Buccaneer athletics, including non-revenue sports.

C)  Someone who carries themselves well and does not sink to low depths commenting on TBLive.com or Tampafreep.com. 

Clarence Beeks

May 2nd, 2012 at 12:09 PM ^

No, it was clear. I thought your post was funny. I understand what you were getting at with making up those two papers. I was just, obliquely, suggesting that, personally, I would have found it even funnier has you used actual local papers, because every city has papers with comment boards just as bad. Just take a visit to tampabay.com sometime...

Clarence Beeks

May 2nd, 2012 at 2:08 PM ^

Yeah, I understand what you're saying.  It's one of those things that's obvious to people who live in Michigan (i.e. that they would necessarily be familiar with those sites), but not so obvious to people who don't live in Michigan and don't ever read those papers or comment boards.

Just to be clear... I wasn't giving you a hard time with my original response.  I thought your post was very clever.  I was just pointing out that the one link you provided was actually a Pittsburgh news blog, which made me laugh.  I should have been more clear about that.


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:16 AM ^

Perhaps he can transition into a non-playing football role with the organization, given, of course, that he would even want that and is qualified.  Sad story with the possibility of an amazing happy ending. 


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:19 AM ^

honestly, i dont understand. 

yes, good for greg. signing his formal college football player. but sign him to do what..? 

if he signs him, doesnt he have to release him too eventually?

why didnt he just "hire" him then? 


look by no means, im not trying to sound like skip bayless here. LeGrand has been quite an inspirational figure, but NFL team signing him just so that he can be on the team and help the team out mentally? i dont think it was neccesary. Schiano could've done something better. 


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:28 AM ^

Like most football players do, LeGrand dreamed of making it to the NFL as a player.  That's why.  So no, I don't think Schiano could've done any better.  This wasn't for the Tampa Bay organization, this was for Eric.  And you don't sound like Skip Bayless, because even he would not play devil's advocate in a situation like this.


May 2nd, 2012 at 11:52 AM ^

I started this thread, genius.  So, I'm quite aware of the facts.  It's more than obvious he will never play seeing as there's a unfortunately good chance he may never walk, and that's why this is a symbolic gesture.  After his accident, this is the closest he could ever get to living his dream of playing in the NFL.  He can now say he was in the league.  Being a parapeligic, I'm pretty sure his expectations changed drastically so I'm pretty damn sure this is dream to him.  Trying being a little less antagonistic about something that's pretty damn cool and touching.


May 2nd, 2012 at 2:33 PM ^

Well obviously this isn't the way he dreamed of becoming a player in the NFL. Sometimes bad things happen to good people, and unfortunately his dream probably went from playing professional football to being able to move again.

The fact that LeGrand was able to stand less than one year after initially being told he'd likely be a quadriplegic and on a ventilator the rest of his life is very remarkable. At the very least, being an honorary member in the league acknowledges just how inspiring he has been. 



May 2nd, 2012 at 11:31 AM ^

Stories like this are some of the reasons that I love sports.  The outcomes of games, win or lose, can seem completely meaningless in comparison to the hearbreaking and inspirational stories of young men like Eric LeGrand, Brock Mealer, Austin Hatch, etc...

You cannot help being touched emotionally by these tales.  Hats off to the Tampa Bay organization for this classy move.

Go Blue!




May 2nd, 2012 at 11:32 AM ^

That is so cool. I love how Rutgers, the NFL and players have been so supportive of Eric. NY Jet Bart Scott, who is a Detroit Southeastern High School grad, raised 36k for Eric from "Can't Wait" t-shirt sales.

French West Indian

May 2nd, 2012 at 11:37 AM ^

They say that they "signed" him but what does that even mean?  Does he get a paycheck?  Health benefits?  Is he part of the players' union?  Is this something that might actually be costing an able bodied person a spot?  How will Tampa Bay get rid of him?  Does he get cut?  Canned whenever Schiano gets the boot?  Does he somehow manage to retire?

The press releases seem so vague.

Clearly the intentions are good but it seems like there is enough ambiguity involved that I'm a bit surprised that Tampa Bay (and NFL) lawyers would even allow such a thing unless it was so watered down that it becomes pointless.

By comparison, graduating from Rutgers seems far more meaningful.


May 2nd, 2012 at 12:17 PM ^

You've missed the point. This kid's greatest dream was to be signed by an NFL team. After his injury, that dream was essentially destroyed. This contract was about making a kid who is really down on his luck feel like his former self if only just for a few minutes.

As far as the contract terms, my guess is that it is for token consideration (meaning pretty much nothing). Just being able to sign an NFL contract was the true gesture.