A grand total of 256 football players were selected in the 2018 NFL Draft. One such player who saw his dream come true was Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin. He was was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks with the 141st pick in the fifth round.
And with that he became the first player with only one hand to be drafted in the NFL’s modern era.
To make things even better, he’ll get to play with his twin brother Shaquill Griffin, who was drafted by the Seahawks in the third round of the 2017 draft.
— ESPN (@espn) April 30, 2018
“I couldn’t breathe, I didn’t know what to say. I was trying to get the words out, but I couldn’t talk,” Shaqueem said on ESPN minutes after he was drafted. “It was tough — I’m not going to lie to you — seeing all those guys picked in front of me.”
Griffin has persevered through many obstacles. When he was 4 years old, he lost his left hand due to a rare condition called amniotic band syndrome, which stunted the development of his hand. Despite excelling on the college football field as a first-team All-American Athletic Conference selection, the league’s 2016 Defensive Player of the Year, and the 2018 Peach Bowl MVP, he wasn’t initially awarded a spot at the NFL Combine.
But at the last minute, Griffin received an invite to the combine and impressed the scouts by bench pressing 20 reps of 225 pounds with a prosthetic hand clamped to the bar. He also ran a 4.38 40-yard dash, the quickest by a linebacker in more than a decade.
“Some people think I can do three, some people think I can do five, some people didn’t think I could do the bench press,” Griffin said to ESPN. “But I did it and competed with everybody else and did 20, and that’s just one step closer to everything I need to accomplish. There’s going to be a lot more doubters saying what I can’t do, and I’m ready to prove them wrong.”
“I don’t know that I’ve ever been in a more inspirational interview that we do at the combine than that one,” Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carrol said. “He was just so expressive and so open to tell his story and to tell what this opportunity meant to him in such a way that he moved us, just like those of you that have watched him. He’s an extraordinary young man.”
Now Griffin is in the NFL and has another chance to prove more people wrong. And he can’t wait to leap at the chance, against all odds.
“This is not the end of my road … it’s only just the beginning. And I’m going to keep proving people wrong because I have a lot of people to prove wrong, a lot of doubters.”
Wow. Chills. God is so good! Great job @Seahawks
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) April 28, 2018
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