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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Eric LeGrand in Tampa tonight as Bucs' honorary captain

TBO.com
Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 12:20 AM
TAMPA -

Eric LeGrand will be back in Tampa tonight as the Buccaneers' honorary captain for the preseason home opener.

LeGrand, who retired after only a few months with the team in July, will take part in the coin toss before the Bucs play the Tennessee Titans at Raymond James Stadium.

"Next stop Tampa. Can't wait to see everybody today," LeGrand tweeted this morning.

LeGrand, who played at Rutgers University under coach Greg Schiano, was paralyzed during a game in 2010. Throughout his rehabilitation, LeGrand has become an inspirational spokesman for patients with spinal cord injuries.

Making it to the NFL was a dream for LeGrand, and on May 2 the Bucs signed him to a no-salary contract. It was a symbolic gesture at the urging of Schiano, who was hired as Tampa Bay's head coach this year.

LeGrand retired as Bucs training camp began July 26.

LeGrand was initially told he would be a quadriplegic for life and would have to breathe through a ventilator, but five weeks after the injury he was breathing on his own.

LeGrand has now improved to the point where he can now stand up with the help of a metal frame, sit up without assistance for up to 15 minutes and make walking and pedaling movements with mechanical or human aid.

He has vowed to walk again.

At the ESPYs in June, LeGrand was given the Jimmy V Award, which goes to someone in sports who has overcome great obstacles through perseverance and determination.

A limited edition Bucs jersey with LeGrand's name and his college uniform number, 52, is being sold for $99.95 by the Bucs' pro shop, with the proceeds going to LeGrand's foundation to benefit spinal cord injury patients and research.

Kickoff tonight is at 7:30. The game will be blacked out on local television.

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