LeGrand returns to MetLife Stadium

September, 16, 2012
9/16/12
8:52
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Eric LeGrand returned to MetLife Stadium on Sunday, participating in the coin toss prior to the start of the Giants-Buccaneers game.

LeGrand -- the former Rutgers player who was paralyzed in a game against Army here on Oct. 16, 2010 -- wore a red Tampa Bay jersey with his number, 52, on it. The Bucs, coached by Greg Schiano -- LeGrand's former coach at Rutgers -- symbolically signed LeGrand to a contract in May.

[+] EnlargeTom Coughlin and Eric LeGrand
Chris Faytok/The Star-Ledger/US PresswireGiants coach Tom Coughlin greets Eric LeGrand.
"Everyone convinced me to wear it," LeGrand said. "Giants fans showed me great love, even with the jersey on. Much respect to them."

(Incidentally, Tampa Bay won coin toss but lost the game, 41-34.)

LeGrand had actually been back to MetLife one other time since his injury, attending last season's Giants-Jets game on Christmas Eve. He said he couldn't help but reflect on his injury, being in the place where it occurred. "This is where I went down," he said. "This is where my life changed forever."

But LeGrand has become an inspiration to many ever since. He is an aspiring broadcaster, has a book coming out Sept. 25 ("Believe: "My Faith and the Tackle That Changed My Life") and still hopes to walk one day.

In the meantime, he can't resist opportunities like the one that came his way Sunday. "I love football," he said. "I love this game."
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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