NFL Notebook: Buccaneers honor former Rutgers player LeGrand

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Paralyzed former Rutgers player Eric LeGrand took part in the coin toss Sunday for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

A New Jersey native, LeGrand was injured making a tackle against Army on a kickoff in the stadium in 2010.

LeGrand wore a Buccaneers jersey with the No. 52 and was warmly greeted by the Giants crowd before referee Jim Core made the toss. The Buccaneers called tails and won.

"It was nice," said LeGrand. "I told everybody I wasn't going to wear my jersey, but they convinced me to wear it. So I went out there and the Giants fans showed me great love. There's much respect to them."

LeGrand was greeted by players from both sides, including the Giants' Eli Manning and Justin Tuck and the Buccaneers' Josh Freeman and Ronde Barber.

LeGrand was signed by Tampa Bay and former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano after the draft this year. LeGrand retired a few days later. He currently works on the pre-game and halftime radio show for Rutgers football games, and according to his agent, Sandy Montag, he is trying to get full-time work in the broadcasting industry.

His book, "Believe," is scheduled to be in bookstores Sept. 25.

But Sunday was all about seeing his friends from Tampa Bay, his former coach and the Giants players, many of whom he knows from previous visits.

Still, the fateful play against Army that turned LeGrand's life upside down is never far from his mind when he comes to the Meadowlands.

"I always look back on it when I come here, but it never discourages me, especially when it's this type of weather," LeGrand said on a sunny Sunday afternoon.


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The NFL removed a replacement official from the New Orleans-Carolina game because it was discovered he is a Saints fan. Side judge Brian Stropolo was replaced by an alternate, Tim Keese. The NFL made the decision Sunday morning just hours before kickoff. The league received several phone calls and emails about Stropolo, who is from New Orleans and posted several photos of himself in Saints gear tailgating at a preseason game on his Facebook page.



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