Shaquem Griffin


Blake Edgington , Writer

Shaquem Griffin. You might say to yourself, who is this and why is he relevant? Well, You are about to learn one of the most inspiring sports stories in recent memory. 


Shaquem griffin was a regular young boy born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida. Shaquem was born with amniotic band syndrome affecting his left hand, causing the fingers on that hand to not fully develop. He ended up having to get his left hand amputated at the age of four and never knew if he would have a normal life again. Ever since he was a little kid, he had a dream of playing in the NFL. Obviously he already had so much adversity in life that people thought it would be nearly impossible to accomplish his dream. 


A senior at Shaker High School, Vinny Fredericks, commented that “ Shaquem inspires me so much and whenever I feel I can’t do something I think of him and his inspiring story and it pushes me to keep going”.


 He has been told he would never get close to that point and that he would never be good enough, but he didn’t let that bother him. He just let all the hate fuel the fire that was burning within him. He also received so much support by his mother and his twin brother Shaquill. Anytime he would feel defeated or doubt his self worth he would turn to them to pick him back up. His brother Shaquill shared that same dream as Shaquem as playing in the NFL but he wouldn’t go on that journey without his brother. Shaquill was a high school football standout and was highly recruited to many division one schools. He told each of them “If you want me to play for your school, then my brother has to come with me. We are a package”. He was obviously determined to give his brother all the support in the world in order for him to get a chance at their dreams. Only one school offered them what they wanted: University of Central Florida. They accepted the scholarship offer and were going to play college ball together. Shaquill would end up being drafted to the Seattle Seahawks, leaving his brother behind to play one final year of college football without him. In Shaquem’s fourth and final year of playing football, he ended up starting at line backer and posting some crazy stats, as well as leading the team in tackles. He was the heart and soul of the team and would brought them all the way to a bowl game and an undefeated season for the second year in a row. 


Shaquem was one of the last people to be invited to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, which gave him even more of a chip on his shoulder. He ran the fastest 40 yard dash(4.32 seconds) in NFL history as a linebacker. His numbers propelled him to getting noticed by many NFL scouts and general managers and he would most likely get drafted. Round by round goes by as Shaquem waits for his name to be called. It is now the third and final day of the draft and he is anticipating his name to be called pretty early. As he sat on his couch at home in St. Petersburg, he got a call. He picked it up and it was John Schneider, the general manager of the Seattle Seahawks, telling him that they were picking him in with the 141st pick. As soon as heard that, he immediately started crying with his family, especially his brother Shaquill, because they had achieved their dream of playing football with each other through their whole careers. Through all the ups and downs Shaquem had been through, he had finally proved all doubters wrong and was never going to look back.  


Since being drafted and making his dreams come true, he has sparked something in many people across the world and young athletes just like him.  When young athletes think of him, it inspires them to do their best because his story is very similar to other kids that have that same disability. Shaquem has won one of the most prestigious awards at the NFL Honors award show, the Game Changer award.