By Michael Lucas 1-28-14
Nothing can hold Eric LeGrand down.
The former Rutgers football player was handed the pin to the city of Newark by interim mayor Luis Quintana at Super Bowl media day in the Prudential Center.
A little more than four years ago, LeGrand suffered a career ending surgery in a game against the Army Black Knights. The injury occurred when LeGrand attempted to make a tackle on a routine kickoff, but ending up suffering a severe spinal injury that paralyzed him from the legs down.
LeGrand was invited to Super Bowl media day by NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt who wanted to give LeGrand a chance to see his favorite team play for a chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
LeGrand has become friendly with a few Broncos players over the years, and he and Peyton Manning have developed a special bond in that time.
“I remember talking to [Peyton] when he was going through his surgery and he said he looked at me as an inspiration while he was coming back,” said LeGrand. “I look up to him and see how his nerves regenerated and I hope my nerves will regenerate one day just like that.”
But that hasn’t stopped LeGrand from living his life to the fullest.
Since the injury, his list of accomplishments have continued to grow. LeGrand has signed a one-day contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He joined Subways’ roster of athletes. He was presented the Unsung Hero award by the New Jersey Hall of Fame. He won the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the ESPYs. He was named the most influential athlete in New Jersey by The Star Ledger, and most recently, received his college degree from Rutgers.
LeGrand has made tremendous progress since the injury and still plans on walking one day. If and when he finally can, the city of Newark is all his.