Shaquem Griffin is the first one-handed player drafted in NFL
The linebacker selected by the Seattle Seahawks had his left hand amputated aged four
Shaquem Griffin in action for the UCF Knights during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Photograph: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Shaquem Griffin has become the first one-handed player to be drafted by an NFL team in the modern era after being selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the fifth round on Saturday.
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, whose twin brother Shaquill was selected by the Seahawks in the third round last year, was in attendance at Dallas’ AT&T Stadium to hear his name called at the 2018 NFL Draft.
Speaking prior to the draft, the 22-year-old from the University of Central Florida had said: “A lot of people are asking, ‘Are you worried about where you’re going to go in the draft? Are you worried about what team you are going to be in?’
“If I can get to a practice, that’s when everyone is going to see who I really am. I’m not worried about where I go, what time I get picked or what team picks me, as long as I get a chance to get to a practice, I’m going to show everybody what I can really do.
“I want to show the entire world, no matter (if you have) one hand, two hands, if you’re a ball player, you just play ball.”
Despite his birth defect, Griffin excelled at the college level, winning his conference’s defensive player of the year award in 2016 and then starring for an unbeaten team last season.
And he gained worldwide attention at the NFL Combine in March when he ran the ran the quickest 40-yard dash for a linebacker since 2003.
Griffin also bench-pressed 225 pounds 20 times, three more than his twin had managed, having attached a prosthetic hand onto the bar, with current NFL defensive stars JJ Watt and Von Miller among those to react in awe on social media.