Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Griffin becomes first one-handed NFL draft in history

Griffin becomes first one-handed NFL draft in history

Shaquem Griffin of the UCF Knights celebrates after sacking an Auburn Tigers player during the Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 1 in Atlanta, Georgia. AFP
Shaquem Griffin of the UCF Knights celebrates after sacking an Auburn Tigers player during the Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 1 in Atlanta, Georgia. AFP

Griffin becomes first one-handed NFL draft in history

Shaquem Griffin’s odds-defying football journey is set to continue after the linebacker who lost one hand at the age of four was drafted Saturday by the Seattle Seahawks.

The Seahawks chose Griffin in the fifth round (141st overall), making him the first one-handed player ever selected in National Football League entry draft.

Getting picked was a dream come true for Griffin as he joins his twin brother, Shaquill Griffin, who was drafted by Seattle in the third round last year.

“That was the phone call I was waiting for my entire life,” Shaquem Griffin said regarding the call from Seattle general manager John Schneider when he was chosen. “I literally broke down after that. I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t know how to talk, I mean, I was just lost for words.”

Griffin’s left hand was amputated when he was four because of a rare birth defect called Amniotic Band Syndrome.

The Seahawks envision Griffin contributing as a pass-rushing outside linebacker and on special teams.

Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said Griffin has great speed, is mature beyond his years, and they are going to try to put him in situations where he can succeed.

“He will be a big factor in special teams. We are going to try to put him in spots where we can utilise the great speed he has. He is as fast as you can get as a linebacker,” Carroll said.

“He is an extraordinary young man. He is an explosive, talented guy and he backs it up.”

Shaquill Griffin, who was born one minute before his twin, was also overjoyed. Shaquill said he lobbied the Seattle coaching and scouting staff to pick his brother.

“I made sure I kept his name fresh in that building,” said Shaquill, who started 11 games for Seattle in 2017. “So every day I made sure to mention my brother about something, even was just: ‘Hey, man, my brother got a good workout in, his backpedal is looking smooth every day.’

“And they continued throughout this whole process to let me know how much they loved my brother, how much they loved my family.

Family affair

“I’m glad they made this happen,” Shaquill said. “It’s a dream come true, not just being drafted, but being with my family and bringing my brother back home.”

Based on his superb US collegiate career, Griffin could be up to the task.

“I don’t want to be a guy who’s just a feelgood story,” Griffin told the US media at the draft. “I want to be a football player, and a good one at that.”

He enjoyed an outstanding career at the University of Central Florida, where he appeared in 39 games with 26 starts, amassing 175 tackles, 18.5 sacks two interceptions and 11 passes defended.

His play earned him a first team all-conference selection twice, and in 2016 he was the Defensive Player of the Year in the American Athletic Conference.

The 6-foot (1.8m), 227 pound (102.97 kg) player impressed at the NFL scouting combine, clocking a blazing 4.38 sec in the 40-yard dash – first among all linebackers present.

Using a prosthetic on his left arm he posted 20 repetitions on the bench press as NFL hopefuls were put through their paces by team representatives in March.

MOST VIEWED

  • Crumbling prices, rent ruffle condo segment

    The prolonged decline in international arrivals to Cambodia intensified by renewed Covid-19 fears has driven down condominium sales prices and rental rates in Phnom Penh, a research report said. CBRE Cambodia, the local affiliate of US commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE Group

  • Over $3M in traffic fines collected in two months

    Traffic police officers collected over $3 million in fines throughout the Kingdom during the past two months when officers strictly enforced the law in accordance with a May sub-decree, officials said. As incentives, law enforcement officers received between 200,000 and two million riel ($50 to $500) each. The figures

  • More than 10,000 workers suspended

    More than 10,000 workers at 18 factories in Svay Rieng province have been suspended because of Covid-19, said provincial deputy governor Ros Pharith. Home to 11 special economic zones, Pharith said Svay Rieng has not been spared as the pandemic takes a toll on the global economy. “There

  • Nod given for school exams

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport announced that State-run higher educational institutions can hold examinations to end the academic year, while private schools can organise grade 9 and grade 12 examinations at their premises for two days. However, private institutions have to take measures to prevent

  • Oz lauds Kingdom’s passage of money laundering laws

    In a press release published by the Australian embassy in Phnom Penh on Monday, the country applauded Cambodia’s stance on transnational crimes as well as its promulgation of an anti-money laundering law and a law on combating proliferation financing. The praise came after King

  • Lotus face masks designed to cover globe

    A French designer in Cambodia has produced ecological face masks from lotus fibre to supply local and international markets with an eye on preserving ancestral techniques and supporting Cambodian women in rural communities. During a trip to Asia, Awen Delaval, an eco-friendly fashion designer, was

  • Accused not treated equally, says CCHR

    The Cambodia Centre for Human Rights (CCHR) has urged the Court of Appeal to do more to ensure that an accused’s right to a fair trial is fully respected. In a bulletin released on Monday, the CCHR said it had monitored 273 cases at the

  • Fish, frogs to boost local food supply

    The government has disbursed more than $4.5 million to boost aquaculture production and domestic market supply amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon told The Post on Monday that in boosting agricultural production, the ministry has received financing from development partners

  • Planning ministry hands out cash to 420,000 poor families in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Planning has identified 20,000 more poor families in the country, bringing the total to over 580,000, while over 420,000 of them have received the government’s cash assistance. In the meantime, many social security cards from families not deemed to be poor have been revoked.

  • Nature in focus at inaugural film and photo festival

    The first Cambodian Wildlife Photo and Film Festival – an event celebrating the conservation of nature through the eyes of wildlife photographers, nature enthusiasts and conservation experts – is scheduled for July 18-26 at Fauna in Focus’ Nature Discovery Centre in Siem Reap. The festival will be