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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

How will Bucs deal with Eric LeGrand's needed roster spot?

This was a big week for Eric LeGrand. legrand.jpg

The paralyzed former Rutgers player signed by the Bucs and his former coach, Greg Schiano, visited his teammates for the first time in Tampa. On Tuesday, he attended practice, spoke in a team meeting and held a press conference.

Being a part of an NFL roster has been everything LeGrand ever dreamed, he said, even though his addition to the Bucs is largely symbolic.

But, the cold reality is that this is the NFL, and roster spots are precious. There will come a time when the Bucs are likely going to need the place on the roster LeGrand now occupies.

Something about the prosepct of "cutting" LeGrand from the roster seems unnecessarily cruel. But by the time the regular season rolls around, and the Bucs are reduced to a mere 53 roster spots (they have 90 during the offseason), they're going to have to use LeGrand's roster spot for a player who can contribute.

The likely compromise: Look for LeGrand to "retire" from the NFL in the near future. In fact, it's something Schiano has already touched on, although in just a passing reference.

"One of the things that's exciting to me is that Eric can retire a Buccaneer," Schiano said last week in an interview with

When and if this happens, LeGrand would be placed on the Reserve-Retired List, making his retirement official. It's not conventional, but nothing about LeGrand's situation is.

The goal was to allow him to experience what it is like to be on an NFL roster, something that seemingly became impossible when he suffered his catastrophic injury in 2010. But the Bucs found a way to make it happen. Now, even in retirement, LeGrand will forever be officially known as a former Buccaneer.

[Last modified: Friday, June 8, 2012 11:01am]


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