TAMPA, Fla. -- Paralyzed former Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand retired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday, a little less than three months after his symbolic signing with the NFL team..
The contract that LeGrand received from the Buccaneers team now led by his former college coach, Greg Schiano, had no monetary value. LeGrand's No. 52 jersey remains available through the Buccaneers' website, with proceeds benefiting spinal cord research, and a book chronicling his life story is scheduled to be released in September.
"I've been blown away by the tremendous outpouring of support, both in Tampa Bay and nationally, through this whole thing," LeGrand said during a conference call. "Everyone's support has really motivated me more and more to get better. I grind hard every day to (achieve) my main goal -- and that's to walk again."
LeGrand said while he will be a "Buccaneer for life," he no longer wanted to occupy a roster spot that could be used for another player.
LeGrand broke two vertebrae and suffered a serious spinal cord injury in October 2010 during a kickoff return against Army. He became an inspiration to his Rutgers teammates, eventually being able to stand upright with the help of a metal frame.
LeGrand continues therapy and hopes to finish school next year before pursuing a career in broadcasting.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press