The Griffin twins are teammates once again.
The Seahawks drafted linebacker Shaquem Griffin in the fifth round a year after selecting his twin brother Shaquill Griffin in the third round of the 2017 draft. Other than last season when one brother was in the NFL and the other was finishing his career at UCF, the two have been teammates their entire lives.
Twins as teammates in the NFL would be a good enough story if that’s all there was to it, but the fact that Shaquem is also one of the most inspirational stories of the 2018 draft makes Saturday’s pick even more special. Griffin had his left hand amputated when he was 4 years old, and has had to prove doubters wrong throughout his football career. Griffin initially wasn’t invited to the NFL scouting combine, but after getting a late invitation, he was one of the stars of the week in Indianapolis, running a 4.38-second 40-yard dash, the same time run by his brother a year earlier.
“So many people are going to have doubts about what I can do,” Griffin said at the combine, where he also benched 225 pounds 20 times with a prosthetic on his left arm. “Some people think I can do three (reps), some people think I can do five, some people didn't think I could do the bench press. But I went and did it and competed with everybody else and did 20, and that's just one step closer to everything I need to accomplish. There's going to be a lot more doubters saying what I can't do, and I'm ready to prove them wrong.”
Griffin didn’t just impress people with his physical abilities or his play on the field, he also has wowed pretty much anyone who has talked with him, including the Seahawks, who interviewed him at the combine.
“I can’t tell you who, but I had somebody tell me they had met John Wooden before, and that the feeling they got sitting down with John Wooden for five minutes was the same feeling they got from (Griffin),” general manager John Schneider said at the combine. “… He’s a special dude.”
Griffin, who earned AAC Defensive Player of the Year honors last season while helping UCF to an undefeated season, knows people will continue to question his ability to play in the NFL with one hand, and he’s ready to keep proving people wrong.
“That started for me at a young age,” Griffin said. “I didn't have to wait until I was in high school or college to have tough skin about people having questions about me, because that started when I first started playing football. I was able to learn from there, and as I got older, I got better at handling different situations and things that were said about me. I've proved them wrong, and that's not going to stop. I know that on each and every level, I have to prove everybody wrong. I have no problem doing that, and I'll remain doing the same thing I've been doing.
“I know what I can do, and the one thing I can do is to go out there and make sure I do it. The reason I’m so excited to be able to prove so many people wrong is, a lot of people see somebody who has one hand instead of two, and they think it's different or it doesn't make sense. ‘Oh, he has one hand—how can you play football?’ Well, what if I say, ‘You have two hands, how can you play football?’ At the end of the day, you have to show what you can do. You can't set limits on what you can do, whether you have two hands or 30 hands. Show me what you can do, and we'll go from there. Don't set limits for me, because when I wake up in the morning and I brush my teeth and I look at myself in the mirror, it’s only me that I see in the mirror. I'm not going to see anybody else in the mirror. That's how I live, day by day. When I look in the mirror, it's up to me to accomplish everything I want out of life.”