NEW YORK (WFAN) – Eric LeGrand’s lifelong dream to make an NFL roster came true in May.
On Thursday, the paralyzed former Rutgers player, whose journey has inspired many in the Tri-State area and across the nation, announced his retirement.
“I am retiring as a buccaneer player today,” LeGrand announced in a series of tweets shortly after 9 a.m. “I knew I wouldn’t keep the roster spot forever and my team enters camp today and I want them to … Go in with a full squad of 90 people so I am not in the way of them reaching a championship. Every man counts. I am still a buccaneer for … Life just not as a player. Jerseys are still for sale and I will be a part of the team forever.”
The Buccaneers signed LeGrand, who suffered a severe spinal cord injury at the Meadowlands in 2010, to their 90-man offseason roster earlier this year. He joined new head coach Greg Schiano in Tampa Bay, who recruited and coached the 21-year-old at Rutgers.
LeGrand will be placed on the Buccaneers’ reserve/retired list, the team said in a statement.
Paralyzed from the neck down, the 21-year-old has worked tirelessly at rehab and even tweeted a photo last July that showed him standing with the assistance of a machine. LeGrand was a junior when he suffered the devastating injury. This year’s crop of NFL rookies came from what would have been his draft class.
He has remained positive through it all. LeGrand, who vows to walk again, was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s 2011 year-end issue. He received the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPYs this month, recently inked a book deal with HarperCollins and also signed on as a spokesman for Subway.
“Making it to the NFL was my dream. But now I want to see my team as strong as possible at the start of Training Camp,” LeGrand said in a statement. “I’m a Buc for life.”
How has LeGrand inspired you? Let us know in the comments below!