Shaquem Griffin had to wait until the third day of the NFL draft to hear his named called.
The former University of Central Florida linebacker waited patiently in the green room at the Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium Thursday and Friday while 100 other players were selected.
But the one-handed phenomenon said he didn’t want anyone feeling sorry for him.
“Don’t have no pity, don’t take it easy on me, because I’m going to give it everything I got,” Griffin said after the first round via the New York Post. “Somebody’s going to get embarrassed. I guarantee it’s not going to be me, so you better give me your best shot because I’m coming at you 100 mph with every single play.”
Griffin had said he would love to be drafted by the Seahawks so he could play alongside his twin brother, Shaquill, a third-round pick by Seattle a year ago.
UCF LB Shaquem Griffin told @LauraMRutledge that if the Seahawks draft him this weekend, when he can be united with his brother Shaquill, Seattle should change name of its DBs to “Legion of Griffins.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 27, 2018
He had to wait until the fifth round Saturday, but his dream came true when the Seahawks selected him with the 141st overall pick.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) April 28, 2018
Griffin and the Knights were one of the great stories in college football last year. UCF went 12-0 but wasn’t selected as one of the four teams in the College Football Playoff. The Knights then beat No. 7 Auburn in the Peach Bowl to finish their perfect season, and they would claim they were the national champions.
The face of the undefeated team was Griffin, who had 74 tackles — including 13.5 for a loss — along with a team-high seven sacks, one interception and two forced fumbles.
After initially not receiving an invitation to the NFL scouting combine, he got a chance to participate, and he put on a show. Griffin performed 20 reps on the bench press using a prosthetic right hand and ran a 4.38 40-yard dash, the fastest time by a linebacker since 2003.
Griffin was born with a congenital disorder called amniotic band syndrome: When he and Shaquill were in their mother’s womb, the amniotic sac entangled with his wrist.
ESPN’s Allison Glock described the resulting damage that was revealed when he was born: “The tissue in Shaquem’s left hand was soft, his fingers like a glove filled with jelly.”
“Everything I touched burned,” Griffin told Glock.
At age 4, he was driven by the unbearable pain to try to cut off his fingers with a butcher’s knife; his mother interrupted the plan and scheduled an amputation of his entire left hand the next day.
Despite his physical limitation, Griffin was able to compete in track, baseball and football growing up in St. Petersburg, Florida, and he and his brother received scholarships to UCF.
In college, he was named the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2016 and was a second-team All-American in 2017.
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