New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin visited with paralyzed Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand on Tuesday.
"I was looking forward to getting to see Eric over the last two weeks and I told his mother [Karen] that," Coughlin said Wednesday before heading out to the practice field. "She has done an incredible job. She’s so very positive and tough and so committed to making sure Eric understands that his spirits are always up and thinking about positive things."
Coughlin, understandably hesitant to talk about his visit, opened up because the continued attention to LeGrand’s journey buoys the young man’s spirit as well as interest in the "Eric LeGrand Believe Fund," which was set up by Rutgers in the wake of the injury. Coughlin delivered a signed helmet and said LeGrand repeatedly thanked him for coming by.
"I got down close [to hear him]. He was thanking me most of the time and wanted to make sure everybody got introduced," Coughlin said. As a longtime football coach, Coughlin is obviously affected by this story. As a father of four with 10 grandchildren, Coughlin feels it even more deeply.
"You come in knowing full well what you represent, what you want them to understand, that the Giants are here for you, we’re all here for you," he said. "Then, if you let yourself, when you leave the room you begin to think as his mother thinks. She’s been an incredible, strong, strong human being."
The LeGrand situation is a sad one. Coughlin's action, though, is just another reason to have respect for the man. Say what you want about him as a coach, but the guy is a complete class act.