LeGrand Talks Special Day at Yankee Stadium

NEW YORK — For paralyzed Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand, the last month is full of personal milestones in his recovery and as a member of the Scarlet Knights. LeGrand, who suffered his tragic injury against Army last year, was a team captain on the field today at Yankee Stadium for the coin toss.

Yankee Stadium played host to a special moment for the Rutgers and Army football programs prior to today's game. Paralyzed Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand, who suffered his injury last year at the Meadowlands against Army, took the field before the game as a team captain for the opening coin toss.

"It was cool," LeGrand said. "I was ready to get a helmet on and go out on the kickoff. I started getting goose bumps."

Malcolm Brown, the Army running back on the other end of the LeGrand injury, was also at midfield for the coin toss. LeGrand wished Brown good luck in the game in a warm greeting between the two.

Army, LeGrand said, has been extremely support of him during the recovery process. The two programs met for a lunch during the summer with LeGrand and he has already been invited to West Point to be honored in other capacities.

"They've been just great," LeGrand said. "They actually want me to come up there and they're going to honor me."

Close friend Khaseem Greene, who leads the Big East in tackles, took the honors at Yankee Stadium one step further by wearing LeGrand's No. 52 for the game. LeGrand, who turned 52 from a number to a symbol as a part of the "believe movement" loved it.

"I think it's great," he said. "He talked to me on Sunday about it and said he asked [Coach Greg Schiano] about and I thought it was a great idea. I appreciate him doing it. It means a lot, especially for this game."

One of the most exciting parts of the day, LeGrand said, will be the chance to call part of a game at Yankee Stadium as an aspiring sports broadcaster. LeGrand spent the third quarter on the air with CBS Sports announcers Gary Thorne and Randy Cross, helping call Brandon Coleman's go-ahead touchdown reception.

"I can't wait to go up there and call," he said on his way up to the broadcast booth. "It's what I love to do. It's something I've dreamed about doing."

LeGrand's first pre-game appearance on the field came at the end of October when he led Rutgers out of the tunnel in two inches of snow against West Virginia. The biggest moment of the last month, however came in the recovery process.

During a rehab session Wednesday, LeGrand spent an hour walking on a treadmill with assistance.

"That was crazy," LeGrand said. "My body is aching, man. The whole week, I was tired. ... It was a great feeling. I can't wait to finish it up now. Hopefully I get some more progression. So far, my balance is already getting better."

LeGrand is still sore from his Wednesday workout, but said just to feel the pain of progress is a major step. Staying positive, he said, is what he does best.

"As soon as I was in the hospital, everything is just so positive around me," LeGrand said. "There was just no negativity around in that area. ... Just imagine if I was negative through this whole thing. No one would know who I was. No one would be inspired by my whole story and everything that's going on. Who knows, I might be still on a ventilator."

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