Eric LeGrand of Rutgers Football Interviewed by ESPN's Tom Rinaldi

John HeinisSenior Analyst IJanuary 7, 2011

ESPN's Tom Rinaldi had the pleasure of interviewing Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand for the first time since LeGrand suffered a paralyzing injury making a special teams tackle against Army on October 16th.

LeGrand is likely making this first public interview since he now has full sensation throughout his body and has also developed movement in his shoulders.  

"There is a difference between what we know and what we believe," Rinaldi said as he opened the segment.  

"I believe that I will walk one day," LeGrand said. "I believe it. God has a plan for me and I know it's not to be sitting here all the time. I know he has something planned better for me."

Karen LeGrand, Eric's mother, said October 16th against Army was the first time she had even seen her son stay down after a play on the football field.  

LeGrand went on to say he feared death since he could not move and could not breathe the way he was used to.  

As he recalled getting carted off the stretcher on that fateful day, he said he tried to give the thumbs up signal to the crowd, but it felt like "he had a thousand pounds on top of them."

Despite the statistics being against him—most studies indicated that he had a five percent or less chance of walking again—the LeGrand family never lost hope. 

A lesser-known fact revealed here was that LeGrand actually had some movement in his shoulders six days after his initial surgery. 

Karen LeGrand said she never told Eric about the unfavorable statistics regarding his situation since she felt that her son was more than a statistic, and no one besides her really knows what Eric is capable of.    

The Believe campaign, as explained by Greg Schiano, "is not just a word, but a state of mind." Furthermore, "it is the belief that Eric will walk again...that he will be back to his old self again."

Karen LeGrand said although she hates to see her son like this, she really appreciates the courage and the willpower that he has displayed up to this point.  

Rinaldi closed by saying that the Scarlet Knights believe in LeGrand's "future, fortitude, and most importantly, him."

It may have gone under the radar for some fans that LeGrand is the winner of the 2010 Discover Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award. Schiano spoke more praise about LeGrand on hearing of his latest achievement.  

"He has given everyone associated with our football family at Rutgers the strength to persevere through life's challenges."  

LeGrand's speedy recovery has been the feel-good story of the year for RU after a disappointing season of football. At this point, supporters are on the edge of their seats for the moment when LeGrand is able to get up and walk on his own again.