Eric LeGrand, the former Rutgers defensive tackle paralyzed while playing for the school in 2010, signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team announced on Wednesday.

The Buccaneers are coached by Greg Schiano, who was the head coach at Rutgers when LeGrand sustained the injury. While Eric LeGrand’s role in Tampa Bay has not yet been defined, Schiano intended the symbolic gesture of signing  LeGrand to positively influence the other Buccaneers’ players.

“Leading up to the draft, I couldn’t help but think that this should’ve been Eric’s draft class,” Schiano said. “This small gesture is the least we could do to recognize his character, spirit, and perseverance.”

Initially told he would be a quadriplegic for life, LeGrand overcame the diagnosis and began breathing on his own five weeks after the injury. Eventually, LeGrand was able to stand upright using a metal frame. He is on schedule to graduate from Rutgers in the fall with a degree in Labor Studies.

[ESPN]