Shaquem Griffin, the star linebacker for the University of Central Florida, has just hit the big time, having been drafted by the Seattle Seahawks over the weekend. But aside from his impressive athletic ability, there is something unique that sets the 22-year-old apart from his peers: He only has one hand.
Not only does Griffin get to join his twin brother, Shaquill Griffin, who was a third-round pick of the Seahawks in 2017, but he also becomes the first-ever one-handed player to play at the highest level of American football.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) April 28, 2018
When Griffin was just 4 years old, he had to have his left hand amputated after a rare birth defect prevented his fingers from fully forming. Despite this physical challenge, Griffin says he never had any doubt that he’d be able to make it as a top player.
“I’m not amazed at all,” Griffin said during a press conference after Saturday’s NFL draft, as reported by CBN News. “A lot of people see somebody who has one hand instead of two, and they think it’s different or it doesn’t make sense. ‘Oh, he has one hand – How can you play football?'”
“Well, what if I say, ‘You have two hands, can you play football?’ At the end of the day, you have to show what you can do. You can’t set limits on what you can do, whether you have two hands or 30 hands,” he continued. “Show me what you can do, and we’ll go from there. Don’t set limits for me, because when I wake up in the morning and I brush my teeth and I look at myself in the mirror, it’s only me that I see in the mirror. I’m not going to see anybody else in the mirror. That’s how I live, day by day. When I look in the mirror, it’s up to me to accomplish everything I want out of life.”
Incredible footage has emerged of Griffin being given the life-changing news that he was going to be an NFL-er:
— NFL (@NFL) April 28, 2018
“Yes sir, thank you so much,” Shaquem can be heard saying as he speaks to Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll.
“What’s up coach,” his brother and new teammate, Shaquill, calls down the phone as the two brothers embrace.
“Oh my goodness,” Shaquem says, completely overwhelmed by the magnitude of this moment. The video then cuts to Shaquem’s name being read out on the TV — at which point the family goes absolutely crazy in celebration. It is an incredibly joyful moment.
Just over a month ago, Griffin took part in the NFL combine at the Indianapolis Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium. The NFL managers, owners, recruits and players who were in attendance were absolutely staggered with his performance.The 225-pound linebacker managed to achieve a lightning 4.38 second 40-meter-dash and completed 20 full reps in a 225-pound bench press with a prosthetic device clamped onto the weight bar. He is the quickest linebacker in the NFL Combine since 2003.
WOW. ???@ShaquemGriffin just ran a 4.38u 40-yard dash!
The fastest LB at the #NFLCombine since 2003.
— NFL (@NFL) March 4, 2018
“I got chill bumps watching him do 20 reps,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “I literally choked up a little bit watching him do that and I can’t wait to watch him tomorrow.”
Griffin is also a man of devout faith. Just before the draft was due to begin, he sent a simple tweet, reading: “It’s in God[‘s] hands.”
— shaquem griffin (@Shaquemgriffin) March 5, 2018
Fighting against all the odds, Griffin is now poised for a glittering career as a linebacker in the NFL. But apart from his incredible personal successes, Shaquem hopes that his story willm inspire other young people to overcome the hurdles that are placed before them and push forward to achieve their goals.
“I hope I inspire a lot (of people),” Griffin added. “I always tell everybody, if I can inspire one, and they can inspire another and inspire a thousand later. If I keep doing what I’m doing now, I can change the minds of a lot of other people later.”
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) March 3, 2018
You can watch a segment on Griffin’s remarkable story below:
"I'm not just a feel-good story."
— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) April 15, 2018
(H/T: CBN News)