PISCATAWAY, N.J. (July 30, 2013) – Continuing to persevere and provide an inspiration to all, Eric LeGrand’s No. 52 will be retired by Rutgers football in a ceremony Sept. 14 at High Point Solutions Stadium. It will be the first number raised in the 144-year history of the program.
“We're excited to be able to do that for him and his family,“ head coach Kyle Flood said at the American Athletic Conference Kickoff in Newport, R.I. “It will be a great day, not just for Rutgers football, but for the LeGrand family and everybody that's associated with us.
“Through his career and now beyond it, where he's still a huge and a daily part of our program while he still continues to work towards graduation, he is somebody who is special to us at Rutgers and special to me as a coach and a friend.”
Rehabbing since suffering a career-ending injury in a game in 2010, LeGrand has set a goal of walking once again – inspiring many along the way. He regularly speaks to organizations about overcoming obstacles, and was presented the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award at the ESPYs in 2012. LeGrand additionally enters his third season as a member of the Rutgers Radio Network and has a major presence on Twitter.
“What an honor thank you @RFootball this means the world to me,” LeGrand tweeted.
The number will be officially retired in a presentation against Eastern Michigan. The birthplace of college football, the Scarlet Knights have never set aside a number in program history.
Flood added that once LeGrand walks again, Rutgers will bring back the number for special occasions.
“I told him, I know you're going to do that,” he said. “And when you do it, I'm going to unretire your jersey. And then that number will become a significant number in our program again to be worn only on special occasions and by certain people. There's no doubt in my mind that that day will come.”
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Rutgers' Player Quotes on Eric LeGrand
WR Brandon Coleman: “This is something to be very proud of. I respect Eric and what he represents. This is important to the community. He also continues to be a source of inspiration for the team and it is always great to see him around smiling.”
DL Isaac Holmes: “This is a big honor for Eric and I am especially happy since he is a fellow member of the defensive line. He is one of us and everyone is excited he is the first to have his number retired. I always make it a point to talk to Eric in the locker room before the game and he always has something inspiring to say.”
QB Gary Nova: “For all the obstacles Eric has been through, he shows a lot of strength. He stands for everything this program is about and I think he deserves this honor. I’m proud to be playing for the school that he represents.
“He motivates us just through how he goes about life every day. The obstacles that he is faced with are bigger than anyone else’s, but he always has a smile on his face. No matter the challenge, you have to keep the faith.
“If there is anyone who deserves to be the first Rutgers player to have his jersey retired, it’s Eric. He is a great role model for anyone.”
LB Kevin Snyder: “This really is a testament to what he went through and how he is changing the lives of others. He has handled the situation better than anyone could expect and is continuing to fight the good fight. Eric still continues to believe and this is a great honor for him.
“I think it is great that Eric is still around the program because that is what we wear on our helmets – believe. We do that for a reason, believing in him, ourselves and our program that we can win championships.
“For a guy like me, I see a guy with great perseverance. I try to play with that every time out as well as living life with a positive attitude.”