Florida-bred football player Shaquem Griffin is defying the odds in the realm of sports. Griffin, 22, made history on Saturday by becoming the first one-handed player to be drafted in the NFL, ESPN reported.
Griffin, the NFL 2018 Draft’s 141st selection, was picked by the Seattle Seahawks, the news outlet writes. Due to amniotic band syndrome, Griffin had to have his left hand amputated at the age of four, but he didn’t let that deter him from pursuing his football dreams. He went on to garner many accolades during his college years at the University of Central Florida, including the All-American Athletic Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year award in 2016, and the Peach Bowl’s defensive MVP award.
This milestone is very special to Griffin as he will be playing side-by-side with his twin brother Shaquill Griffin who was drafted by the Seahawks as a third-round draft pick last year and is now the team’s cornerback. Pete Carroll, the head coach of the Seahawks, says that their brotherhood influenced his decision to bring Shaquem on board. “They own this extraordinary connection that I think also is a demonstration of love and heart and all of the cool things about what they represent,” Carroll told ESPN. “[Shaquem] overcame a tremendous amount by just believing in himself, and I think the belief of his brother in him, as well, which is obvious, was also part of all of that. It’s a great story.”
Shaquem will become the team’s weakside linebacker. He says that the individuals who doubt his abilities only push him to go harder on the field. “This is not the end of my road … it’s only just the beginning,” says Shaquem. “And I’m going to keep proving people wrong because I have a lot of people to prove wrong, a lot of doubters.”
Watch the heartfelt moment when Shaquem found out he was selected below.