Wednesday in the NFL saw the next incredible step in a continuously inspiring journey.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization stole the NFL's offseason show for at least one day by signing former Rutgers player Eric LeGrand to their 90-man offseason roster. LeGrand, of course, is the player who was paralyzed from the neck down during a 2010 game against Army.
Since that unfortunate fall afternoon in the Meadowlands, however, LeGrand has defied the odds at every step of his recovery. He vows to walk again one day, and if his recovery has taught us anything up to this point, it's that it's not a good idea to bet against him.
There's no questioning LeGrand's will and determination to beat this injury and put it in his rearview, but he can't do it himself, either. That's why it's so nice to see gestures like this one from new Bucs head coach Greg Schiano and the rest of the Tampa organization.
Schiano knows better than just about anyone else what kind of human being LeGrand is. Schiano coached LeGrand at Rutgers, and saw firsthand the will and determination LeGrand brings to the table.
"Leading up to the draft, I couldn't help but think that this should've been Eric's draft class," Schiano said in the release on the team's website. "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."
And the way that Schiano and the Bucs rewarded LeGrand for the way he lives his life is at least some proof that there is still some good in professional sports.
It's understandable that we often forget about the good we can still find in sports. Topics like Spygate continue to provide never-ending banter for the broadsheets, the airwaves and blogs. Honestly, it's may also be the biggest reason schmucks like us continue to get paid to opine about sports when there are so many things bigger than sports in the world.
So for that, we must be thankful.
But we must also be thankful for the rare occasions when stories like Eric LeGrand's come around. Not only does it remind us that there's more to enjoy about sports than winning an argument on a barstool or feeling good about yourself for correctly predicting how long of a suspension a noted cheap-shot artist will get from a league for a dirty hit.
Coincidentally, it's usually the stories that transcends sports that remind us how special sports can be. We can take a step back, look at his journey and realize that LeGrand's story is bigger than sports. He'll continue to achieve all of the goals he lays out, there's little doubting that at this point.
Milestones like these will only continue to help him check goal after goal off of his list. Greg Schiano and the entire Bucs family deserve all the credit in the world for that.
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