Thursday, August 1, 2013


These past few months have not been the best for the PR machine at the State University of New Jersey's Athletic Department.  In case you have forgotten, Google the terms "Mike Rice", "throwing basketballs at players" or "Eric Murdock" and see what pops up.  For good measure, add "Tim Pernetti" into the mix.  What the hell.  Trust me when I tell you that the hits will keep on coming.  They most assuredly will.
The other day, however, the Rutgers Athletic Department tacked back in the other direction.  On Tuesday, RU announced that at the game against Eastern Michigan on Saturday, September 14, 2013 - for the first time in the history of the football program - a number shall be retired.  The number is - of course - 52.  The jersey number that belonged to Eric LeGrand now shall belong to him forever. 
Well perhaps.  That is not the hope.  RU's deal with the perpetual heart of their football program is that 52 shall not necessarily remain out of circulation forever.  Here is Head Coach Kyle Flood's deal with LeGrand: 
"The one caveat that I put on it with him, and I said this to him because I've been around Eric enough to know that he makes this statement quite often, (is) that he's gonna go back to the stadium, to where it happened, and he's gonna get up from that spot and he's gonna walk off the field.  And I told him, `I know you're gonna do that, too. And when you do it, I'm gonna unretire your jersey.  And then that number will become a significant number in our program again to be worn only on special occasions and by certain people."
I do not pretend to know whether this is the Webster's definition of a good thing happening to a good person.  But I know that if it is not, it is damn close. 
And I also know that while a picture may be worth one thousand words, sometimes one is all you need....


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