Dreams really do come true during the NFL draft. Every year, players are surrounded by family and loved ones, waiting for their names to be called across the screen. Emotions are built up to this moment. Many players that have struggled in the past feel accomplished as they walk across that stage. They stand proud, holding their new jerseys, and they finally say, “I made it.”
They all have been through adversity, and this player is an example. He even did it with one hand! Yes, Shaquem Griffin made it to the NFL with only one hand.
Meet Shaquem Griffin
Griffin was born with amniotic syndrome, which is a congenital disorder that narrows the appendages, including the hands and feet. He was born with soft tissue in his fingers. When Griffin was four years old, he attempted to self-amputate his fingers with a kitchen knife, because he was in so much pain. Then, his parents caught him and they scheduled an amputation on his left hand the next day. His parents raised him the same way along with his twin brother, Shaquil.
When Shaquem started playing football at a young age, a coach tried to get him disqualified because he believed that football was a two-hand sport. That didn’t stop Griffin. He and his brother continued to play the sport that they love all the way through high school. Both of them were offered and ended up committing to the University of Central Florida during their senior year.
Career at UCF
Shaquem only played one game during his sophomore year and a little bit of special teams. Then he was moved down to third string while his brother started at corner, and eventually making it to the league a year later. Shaquem was left behind, being demoted to a redshirt, then getting sent back home during the start of his third season. It felt like all hope was lost for him, but he still refused to give up. Shaquem returned to UCF in 2016, and played linebacker. He led the Knights with 92 total tackles, 11.5 sacks, 20 tackles for loss and an interception, yeah, an INTERCEPTION. He was also named the American Athletic Conference Defensive player of the year.
During 2017, Griffin led the defense again with 74 tackles, seven sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, three pass break ups and an interception. Pretty amazing for a guy that’s six foot, weighing 227 lbs, with one hand right? He even made first team all-conference for the second year in a row and helped UCF to become the only undefeated team in the nation. Shaquem even tried out for the NFL combine.
On his day at the combine, Griffin showed the scouts what he was made of. He ran a 4.38 in the 40 yard dash, (which is the fastest time from a linebacker since 2013), 20 reps on bench press with 225 lbs, and 117 inches on the broad jump. Due to his numbers, many NFL scouts were impressed.
On Saturday, April 22, 2018, it was Griffin’s moment of truth. With the 141st pick in the fifth round of the NFL draft, Griffin was selected by the Seattle Seahawks. That’s not all, he is also reunited with his twin brother who plays as a corner for them. This has been the brothers’ dream to play on the same team with each other, since they were little and now it’d finally became a reality.
He would be an outstanding addition to the Seahawks’ legendary defense. Sources say that head coach Pete Caroll would put Shaquem at outside linebacker where he can put his speed to good use and come off the edge to make plays. Safe to say, that dreams do come true to those who are patient and never give up.
“From our Haus to yours!”