Greg Schiano’s connection to Eric LeGrand runs deep. So deep, that he’s now completed one of the classiest post-draft moves in, well, forever, and the new Bucs coach has signed LeGrand as an undrafted free agent.

For the few unfamiliar with LeGrand’s story, the defensive tackle played under Schiano at Rutgers, and over 31 games he had 60 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and he forced three fumbles. But his college football career ended abruptly in October of 2010 when he was severely injured during a game against Army, fracturing two vertebrae and becoming paralyzed. He was told that he’d be a quadriplegic and was put on a ventilator, but miraculously he began to breathe on his own and later he was able to stand up with the help of a metal frame.

Schiano always intended to bring LeGrand to Tampa, and have him act as a role model for his new team.

From the Tampa Bay Tribune:

“Leading up to the draft, I couldn’t help but think that this should’ve been Eric’s draft class,” Schiano said in a release by the Bucs. “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.”

During an NFL offseason that’s been rife with bounty talk, it’s refreshing to see a truly inspirational story continue.

And now you want to know the rest of the story…

  • There’s always angst over contracts, a fact of NFL front office life in May that Giants general manager Jerry Reese is well versed in. Reese dismissed Osi Umenyiora’s “greedy pig” comment, saying that it was just part of the regular offseason chatter. [New York Daily News]
  • Focusing on Brandon Weeden’s age is a lazy way to create an easy narrative. He’ll have problems and growing pains just like any rookie quarterback, but they won’t be tied to the fact that he’s older than 14 other starting quarterbacks. [Tony Grossi]
  • Seneca Wallace knows his role on the Browns’ QB depth chart, and he’s eager to help Weeden during his transition to pro ball. You hear that, Colt McCoy? [Waiting For Next Year]
  • He may not have been uncomfortable with his pick, but Seahawks general manager John Schneider admitted that he was more than a little uncomfortable with the lack of pre-draft buzz around Bruce Irvin. [Gregg Rosenthal]
  • Randy Moss is already getting really good with his Harbaughisms. [Niners Nation]
  • Rick Spielman doesn’t think he fleeced the Bucs. [NFL.com]
  • Why won’t Tebowing die? [SI Photos]

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