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.
With 292 yards on 29 carries, C.J. Spiller is off to such a hot start that he's averaging 10.1 yards per rush. That's the highest average by an NFL player with a minimum of 25 carries through the first two games of a season since 1963, when Jim Brown averaged 11.3 yards (34 carries for 394 yards).
Quarterback Blaine Gabbert has a hamstring injury that could prevent him from playing next week at Indianapolis. Gabbert injured his left hamstring in the first half against Houston. He played the third quarter and one series in the fourth before leaving the game.
Wes Welker probably would rather have a victory, but with five receptions in the loss to the Cardinals, he now has the most in Patriots history. Welkerhas 562 catches surpassing Troy Brown's previous mark of 557.
Danny Amendola had 12 receptions in the first half of the win against Washington to tie the NFL record set by the Colts' Reggie Wayne in 2007. His 15 receptions tied his career high for a game and his 160 yards were also a career high for Amendola, undrafted out of Texas Tech. Also, running back Steven Jackson sat out most of the final three quarters with a groin strain that worsened on his final few carries. Jackson didn't play after drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for spiking the ball in protest after he was ruled short of the goal line on a third down carry from the 1. Coach Jeff Fisher said Jackson was held out because of the injury, not because he was being disciplined.
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.
First Published September 17, 2012 12:00 am