The amazing journey of Shaquem Griffin, an amputee who has reached the NFL, will hit another high point this weekend. Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll has announced that Griffin, a rookie, will get to start at linebacker in his first NFL game.
Griffin’s astonishing journey
Griffin had his left hand amputated as a child when it failed to develop properly. But even though he was clearly a skilled athlete, he had to fight to overcome assumptions that a one-handed player couldn’t handle the demands of football. He played his way onto the University of Central Florida roster, and turned his stellar performance at linebacker there into a fifth-round selection at this year’s draft. But even that wasn’t assured; he had to overcome doubts at every single level, and only managed to turn heads at the combine when he posted a stunning 4.38 40-yard dash time.
He went on to establish himself as Seattle’s leading tackler during the preseason. “He is a wonderful kid, he’s been really busting his tail to figure it out, and how to play in our scheme and all that,” Carroll said last week. “I can’t tell you much until I see the film, other than he was very active, just like we would hope.”
Griffin’s future in Seattle
Griffin got the call to start when injury took down K.J. Wright; Wright will almost surely get the starting job back when he’s healthy. But for now, Griffin gets to continue a remarkable journey … and continue it with his brother Shaquill, drafted as a cornerback by Seattle last year.
“All the people that doubted him because he doesn’t have a hand? He’s a great player,” the Seahawks’ Bobby Wagner told USA Today. “He’s flying around making plays, he picked off Russ, he’s batting down passes, making sacks.”
It’s an astonishing story, one of the best of the new NFL season … and it’s about to get even better. Seattle begins its year Sunday in Denver.
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