NFL (National Football League)

Shaquem Griffin becomes first one-handed player selected in NFL draft as he joins twin brother at Seattle Seahawks

The 22-year-old has his left hand amputated at the age of four after birth defect caused fingers to not fully develop

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 April, 2018, 1:27pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 April, 2018, 9:26pm

Shaquem Griffin became the first one-handed player ever to be selected in the NFL draft on Saturday, joining his twin brother Shaquill at the Seattle Seahawks.

It was a long wait for Griffin, but the former University of Central Florida linebacker finally got the call from the Seahawks with the news that he would be the 141st overall selection in the 2018 NFL draft’s fifth round.

Griffin was born with amniotic band syndrome affecting his left hand, causing the fingers on his left hand not to fully develop and resulting in amputation of his hand at the age of four.

He has become the feel-good story this year and one of the most popular players in this draft because of his perseverance, outgoing personality and, of course, his talent.

“It’s amazing just to be here right now, I couldn’t ask for more, ” Shaquem Griffin said. “It’s been a long road coming, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to be here.

“It’s been a really good experience. I would have been crazy to turn an experience down like this. I’m just glad I was one of the selected few to be here.”

Griffin was not present at AT&T Stadium on the final day of the draft, instead waiting to hear the news with family and friends at a nearby Arlington hotel, and had one of the more unusual ways of finding out he was chosen.

“I was using the restroom and my brother came and tackled me with my cell phone, saying ‘answer it, answer it’, and I looked, and that’s when tears started pouring down,” the 22-year-old said.

“I literally went to use the restroom and that’s when my brother busted in and tackled me. I think I was more scared of him tackling me in the bathroom and not knowing what was happening than anything.”

The fourth selection of Saturday’s fifth round, Griffin was the 14th linebacker taken overall and eighth outside linebacker. Shaquill Griffin, who started 11 games at cornerback for the Seahawks this past season, was a third-round selection last year, the No 90 overall pick.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was one of the first players to welcome Shaquem to the family, tweeting: “Wow. Chills. God is so good! Great job @Seahawks Congrats @ShaquemGriffin & @ShaquillG”.

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Griffin was named the American Athletic Conference defensive player of the year in 2016 after racking up 92 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks.

This past season he led the unbeaten Knights in sacks with seven and tackles for loss with 13.4. He was third on the UCF defence in tackles with 74 and he had one interception