1-handed player Shaquem Griffin's NFL dreams come true, will be reunited with twin brother


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.

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He had to wait until the fifth round Saturday, but his dream came true when the Seahawks selected him with the 141st overall pick.

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.

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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.

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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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Todd Windsor is a senior story editor at The Western Journal. He has worked as an editor or reporter in news and sports for more than 30 years.
Todd Windsor is a senior story editor at The Western Journal. He was born in Baltimore and grew up in Maryland. He graduated from the University of Miami (he dreams of wearing the turnover chain) and has worked as an editor and reporter in news and sports for more than 30 years. Todd started at The Miami News (defunct) and went on to work at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., the St. Petersburg (now Tampa Bay) Times, The Baltimore Sun and Space News before joining Liftable Media in 2016. He and his beautiful wife have two amazing daughters and a very old Beagle.
Bachelor of Science from the University of Miami
Phoenix, Arizona
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