Seahawks draft one-handed player, first in modern NFL history
Shaquem Griffin didn’t let having one hand stop him from playing football.
The University of Central Florida linebacker lost his left hand at the age of 4 due to a rare condition called amniotic band syndrome, which stunted the development of his hand, according to a 2012 Tampa Bay Times article.
But after countless accolades, including being the AAC Defensive Player of the Year, the Florida native was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday. He was the 141st overall pick, in the fifth round, making him the first one-handed player to be drafted in the modern era, according to NFL.com.
“#AgainstAllOdds,” is all Griffin had to say on Twitter as he tweeted a GIF of family and friends jumping with excitement.
“Welcome to the family,” the Seahawks tweeted Saturday with Griffin’s signature hashtag “#AgainstAllOdds.”
Prior to Griffin, NFL.com says Ellis Jones was the first one-handed player before the Super Bowl era to be drafted, in 1945.
Even before the draft, Griffin signed an endorsement deal with Nike. He tweeted a photo of himself signing papers Friday with a printed Nike swoosh at the top.
“Never doubt heart,” Griffin tweeted. “Excited to announce I’m joining the @usnikefootball fam. Let’s work! #againstallodds”
Not only that, but Griffin will also be playing with his twin brother, Shaquill Griffin, a cornerback who was drafted by the Seahawks in the third round last year, according to NFL.com.
“#AgainstAllOdds, @ShaquemGriffin is headed to the @Seahawks to be reunited with @ShaquillG!!” UCF tweeted Saturday.
This is the first time since 2001 that brothers were drafted by the same team, according to ESPN. The last time was when the Tennessee Titans drafted wide receiver Kevin Dyson in 1998 and his brother, cornerback Andre Dyson, in 2001.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the athletic conference that named Shaquem Griffin Defensive Player of the Year. It was the American Athletic Conference (AAC).