One-handed player makes history in 2018 National Football League draft

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The Seattle Seahawks drafted University of Central Florida linebacker and St. Petersburg native Shaquem Griffin on Saturday in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Indeed he will join his twin brother Shaquill at the 2013 Super Bowl champions as he was selected in the third round by the same club last season.

Shaquem Griffin's remarkable journey to the National Football League got it's ideal ending, Sunday.

"I literally broke down after that".

"I was using the restroom", Griffin said when asked where he was when he got the news.


The linebacker had his left hand amputated when he was just four, having been born with a condition that prevented the fingers on that hand from fully developing.

Griffin was not present at AT&T Stadium on the final day of the draft, instead waiting to hear the news with family and friends at a nearby Arlington hotel, and had one of the more unusual ways of finding out he was chosen.

When he received a phone call from Seahawks general manager, John Schneider, and Coach Pete Carroll to notify him, the UCF star repeatedly said he was out of breath and overwhelmed. Personnel evaluators who spoke with Yahoo Sports said he'll likely start his career on special teams, as well as a backup role in sub-packages at his linebacker spot. "Sometimes the pressure like that can break you and it is a lot of pressure", Shaquem said. "Just like those of you that have watched him he's an extraordinary young man".

"I made sure I kept his name fresh in that building", said Shaquill, who started 11 games for Seattle previous year.

'If I can get to a practice, that's when everyone is going to see who I really am.


"I couldn't breathe, I didn't know what to say".

"I´m glad they made this happen", Shaquill said. "It's a dream come true, not just being drafted, but being with my family and bringing my brother back home".

Based on his superb United States collegiate career, Griffin could be up to the task. This isn't just a feel-good story, but something that should make everyone feel great.

Grit and determination can sometimes pull you through, as evidenced by the unprecedented hiring of the first one-handed US-style NFL football player. His notable performance earned him first-team All-AAC selection twice and AAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2016.

Shaquem impressed teams at last month's NFL Scouting Combine where he bench pressed 225 pounds 20 times with a prosthetic hand.


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