Good morning, 12s. Here's a look at what's out there today – Wednesday, August 24 – about your Seattle Seahawks.
In what's become a popular avenue for athlete expression, Seahawks Legend Shaquem Griffin announced via The Players Tribune that he is retiring after a four-year NFL career. The platform gives athletes a chance to tell their stories - and Griffin looks at the chapters in his book up until this point as he prepares for a new journey. Griffin opens up with what you may already know about him, before getting into what you don't.
"If you're reading this, you probably already know my story," said Griffin. "The one-handed linebacker with the twin brother. The guy a lot of people thought couldn't play in college and said would never make it to the NFL because nobody with only one hand had ever done that before. I made it anyway. I persevered."
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There is no predecessor to Shaquem Griffin in NFL history. The first-ever one-handed player in league history was born two minutes after his twin brother, Shaquill, on July 20, 1995. Shaquem came out of the womb suffering from amniotic band syndrome on his left hand. This rare condition constricts the body parts in the womb in tissue when the sac is damaged during pregnancy. This resulted in excruciating pain throughout Shaquem's arm for the early portion of his life. At 4, the pain was too much, and Shaquem attempted to use a kitchen knife to cut off his own hand. This scary reality prompted the Griffin parents, Terry and Tangie, to schedule an emergency amputation the next day.
As the Griffin twins grew up in St. Petersburg, FL, they were treated equally, and Shaquem adapted to life without a limb with the help of his parents and most-importantly - his brother. It started with their father Terry teaching Shaquem and Shaquill to do everything equally despite the handicap - from throwing a football to lifting weights.
Shaquem starred in several sports throughout childhood alongside his brother, from track to baseball. At Lakewood High in St. Petersburg, Shaquem and Shaquill would star together - Shaquill at cornerback; Shaquem at Safety. The duo would help take Lakewood to the 2012 Florida 5A regional semifinals. But Shaquem would carve out his own legacy on both the football field and the track. Griffin was a four-year letter on the track in several events, and was named the Tampa Bay Times Track and Field Athlete of The Year for Pinellas County. In 2011, Griffin was selected for the Under Armour Combine. In 2013, Griffin was selected to play for the U.S. Under-19 National Team and ranked a three-star recruit by both ESPN and Rivals. While fielding several Division I offers in track and field from the likes of LSU and Purdue, Shaquem had a vision to pair with his brother Shaquill at the University of Central Florida. Despite offers from several FBS programs, Shaquill was committed to playing college football with his brother. From playing sports to matching tattoos, their bond was inseparable from a young age, and they planned to keep it that way as long as possible.
"Coaches wanted me to go to that big-name college to help their program," said Shaquill Griffin. "They told me to think about it. I told them I wasn't doing any more thinking."
In the retirement letter, Shaquem talks about the impact his twin had on him from childhood to living out their professional football dreams together.
"You've had my back since Day One, bro," said Griffin "You never let anybody mess with me when we were kids. At UCF, when they invited you to stay and work out and sent me home for the summer and I was working two jobs towing cars and cleaning offices at the Chevy dealership, you called me every day to make sure I was still working out and keeping my mind right. When I got cut, you stayed with me. Because I needed you. We've always said, "We live through each other." That won't change. I'm still with you, living through you every time you take the field. So keep ballin' out. Keep living that dream. We've been told countless times, and it's still humbling every time I hear it, that there should be a movie about our journey together, and what we've been through, together, always inseparable. Maybe that day will come sooner than later. But until then, I'm gonna go build something new so I can do what Dad always told us to do: leave the world a better place than when we found it."
It was four years ago, when Shaquem and Shaquill got the call in their hotel room that Shaquem would be headed to Seattle to join his brother.
With the No.141 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Seahawks selected Shaquem Griffin, pairing him with his brother, who was selected the year before. In three seasons with the Seahawks and his brother, Shaquem participated in 46 games and registered a sack.
In 2021, the Griffin brothers hit free agency - Shaquill signing a three-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars; Shaquem signing a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins. That October, Shaquem was cut after battling to make it on the active roster.
But it was a talk with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at the Super Bowl that inspired Shaquem towards a new path.
He had invited me there because he wanted to talk to me about joining the NFL Legends Community.
The NFL Legends Community is a program through which retired players help mentor current and former players on everything from the transition into and out of the game to how to navigate mental health issues. It's a resource to provide guidance and support to players in whatever they might be going through or trying to achieve, including assisting with community service initiatives.
"I'm sitting at that fancy hotel having brunch with the commissioner and he's telling me he'd love to have me as part of the Legends Program. I look around the room and see all these vets — these old-school Legends who've been around forever — and I'm thinking, Man, I'm 27. I'd be the youngest Legend in the room.
"And then the moment I knew that I had to say yes was when I was sitting with the commissioner and a few other guys, and we were just talking about football, rule changes — normal stuff. Then, the conversation shifted. We started talking about what's happening on the streets in Chicago and how those communities are suffering. Guys started throwing out ideas on how we could help. How we could maybe improve people's lives and make a real positive impact.
"And I was thinking, These are the kinds of conversations I want to be a part of."
Griffin's story has inspired many, including aspiring soccer star Annika Emmert, who uses a bionic arm
While Shaquem Griffin is young, his story is far from over. If you've followed his journey thus far and see all he's overcome, there's no reason to close the book just yet.
To read more on Shaquem's story and his future plans click here.
Social Post Of The Day
The National Football League highlighting Shaquem Griffin's historic 2018 NFL Combine performance, including 20 reps of 225 pounds on the bench with a prosthetic arm.
Take a look back at photos of Seahawks Legend Shaquem Griffin. Griffin played linebacker and contributed on special teams for three season in Seattle. He announced his retirement from the NFL on August 24, 2022.