Panini America Honors Eric LeGrand with Special Card in 2012 Prestige Football
When Panini America’s 2012 Prestige Football releases later this week, it will do so packing the first officially licensed Rookie Cards of more than 100 players featured in their NFL uniforms for the first time. But of all the RCs punctuating the product, one in particular is sure to stand out — not necessarily for the money it will fetch on the secondary market but because of the inspirational journey of the player featured on it.
It’s the last card in the set — #301 on the checklist — that honors former Rutgers University football player and honorary Tampa Bay Buccaneer Eric LeGrand.
LeGrand’s gripping, inspirational story has been well documented. Injured while making a tackle against Army on Oct. 16, 2010, LeGrand was left paralyzed from the neck down. Seemingly every day since, he has uplifted others with a contagious smile and a relentless drive to walk again.
Soon after LeGrand’s coach at Rutgers, Greg Schiano, became the new head coach in Tampa Bay, he honored LeGrand by signing him to the Buccaneers’ 90-man offseason roster. It was a poignant, ceremonial signing that spoke volumes about how Schiano, and countless others around the world, feel toward LeGrand.
“This small gesture is the least we could do to recognize his character, spirit and perseverance,” Schiano told ESPN.com. “The way Eric lives his life epitomizes what we are looking for in Buccaneer Men.”
Now, thanks to card #301 in 2012 Prestige Football, those Buccaneer men — and fans and collectors throughout the country — now have another special way to remember LeGrand’s inspirational story.
Sales of LeGrand’s No. 52 Buccaneers jersey will benefit spinal-cord research. For more information, visit the Eric LeGrand Patriot Saint Foundation and the Rutgers University Eric LeGrand Believe Fund homepage.