23 years ago, in St. Petersburg, two sons were born in the Griffin family, Shaquil and Shaquem. They were given twins! Shortly after, Terry and Tangie (the parents) found out that Shaquem had a serious condition, he had Amniotic Band Syndrome in his hand. This is when a limb or fingers cannot grow all of the way, resulting in stunted formation for those parts of the body. This can cause serious pain for those affected. The Griffin Parents eventually decided to have Shaquem’s hand amputated, because he too could not deal with the pain.
Regardless, he didn’t let this slow him down. He worked extremely hard and got to play football, baseball, and track with his brother in High School. Together, they both had great high-school careers. After those four years, his brother Shaquil was given multiple scholarships from different schools, including the team of his dreams: The University of Miami. He turned down these for an offer to the University of Central Florida on a full-ride football scholarship, plus more. Not only was he given a scholarship, but Shaquem was offered one too. So, the brothers got to play together again!
Sadly, this was not the only adversity to overcome for Shaquem. As a redshirt freshman, he began his time in college as a second string linebacker. Soon after, he was lowered into third string, and eventually demoted to the scout team. Then their coach left. Consequently, Scott Frost became the head coach for the Knights, and gave the red shirt junior a chance for the starting spot. He decided to capitalize on the unique opportunity with hard work and dedication. That is what would lead him to his future success in college.
Shaquem ended his collegiate career with both 17 sacks and 30 tackles for a loss. Also, during his senior year, he had a sweet interception, and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. He was also crowned Defensive MVP of the 2018 Peach Bowl. UCF had an undefeated season while he was a senior, and would later on claim a conroversial National Championship title (For more info on this game look up https://www.kentucky.com/sports/college/article217396010.html ). Sadly, the brothers did not play together this season because Shaquil did not redshirt at the beginning, and after graduating he ended up getting drafted by the Seattle Seahawks, as the 90th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Then another trial came. Shaquem did not receive an invitation for the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine at the beginning. After some waiting, eventually he was invited. His workouts were nothing short of greatness. Perhaps he became best-known for his skill after he did 20 bench press reps while using a prosthetic limb. That alone was awesome! To add to that, he ran the 40 yard dash in 4.38 seconds, setting a record for a linebacker since the NFL has had their Statistics released!
The NFL would then draft its first one-handed player on April 28, 2018, signing Shaquem for a four year, $2.8 million dollar contract. It seems as if the story cannot get any better, but indeed it can! The team that signed him were the Seahawks, so he could play with his brother again!
He hasn’t been given a whole lot of playing time since then, but if there is one thing that we do know, it’s that Shaquem Griffin has been a defy-all-odds kind of guy his whole life, and I don’t see him changing that anytime soon.