Shaquem Griffin-2018 NFL Draft - Red Carpet Shaquem Griffin-2018 NFL Draft - Red Carpet
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22-Year-Old Linebacker Becomes The NFL’s First One-Handed Player

Shaquem Griffin is beating the odds and making history. 

Shaquem Griffin made history on Friday (April 28) when he was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks, making him the NFL's first one-handed player.  Griffin, 22, was picked up in the fifth round of the NFL draft and joins the team alongside his identical twin brother, Shaquill, who was drafted last year.

Griffin was born with amniotic band syndrome, a rare condition that affected his left hand, which was amputated at 4 years old.

The University of Central Florida linebacker has also played other sports, including basketball and baseball, and was named the 2018 Peach Bowl Defensive MVP, and American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2016.

Though he's used to beating the odds, Griffin is most excited about playing on the same NFL team as his twin brother. “I could’t breathe, I didn’t know what to say. I was trying to get the words out but I couldn’t talk,” he told ESPN after being drafted as a 141st overall pick. “It was tough, seeing all them guys picked in front of me and just falling back and knowing that I did everything I was supposed to do, but it was in God’s hands.

“I would wait all over again for the opportunity to be back with my brother," added Griffin.

Griffin isn't the first amputee to make it to the NFL, but he is the first of the post-Super Bowl era. Ellis Jones, a one-armed lineman, was drafted to the league in 1945 by the Boston Yanks . Jones died in 2002 at the age of 80.

Now that Griffin is officially going pro, he plans to keep “proving” his haters wrong. “I have a lot of people to prove wrong, a lot of doubters,” he said.

Griffin’s brother, who didn't cry when he was selected by the Seahawks, couldn't help but get emotional after learning that his brother was joining the Seahawks.

"I couldn’t hold it,” Shaquill told ESPN of crying over the news. “I just couldn't hold it. I'm excited, and I'm glad we made that choice and we're bringing my brother back home."

Watch the twins talk more about the draft below.

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Rapper Jay-Z attends the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 19, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.
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NFL Network Insider Claims Jay-Z "Had Some Influence" With Colin Kaepernick's Workout

In August, Jay-Z and his Roc Nation imprint inked a partnership with the National Football League (NFL) that pins social justice at the top of its list of priorities. The deal received backlash from those opposed to the NFL's controversial practices and treatment of Colin Kaepernick, but according to a league insider, Jay-Z might've played a role in the quarterback's potential to re-enter the sport.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Jay-Z "had some influence" concerning Kaepernick's invitation to a private workout with NFL clubs. The news was made public on Tuesday (Nov. 12), but immediately stirred up rumors of it being a PR stunt. "I am also told that Jay-Z, who has been working with the NFL on some social justice initiatives, was involved in this and pushed this idea to some extent," Rapoport said.

Two notes: 1. Jay-Z, a partner with the NFL on social justice, had some influence here. 2. This is not part of Kaepernick’s settlement, nor did he ask for this in his settlement. https://t.co/6l7z3MYJ5x

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 13, 2019

Rapoport isn't the only sports news professional to mention Jay-Z's name in the same sentence as Kaepernick's. ESPN's Stephen A. Smith believes the billionaire mogul played a role in the invitation.

"Clearly there appears to be a collective effort that has taken place to include these teams with league participation and league approval, obviously, so it appears to be something very, very serious and the only thing that can get in the way of Colin Kaepernick being back in the NFL is if he refuses to shut up and/or he goes out there and shows that he can't play," Smith said.

Following his partnership announcement, Jay-Z stated that it's time to make tangible moves to revamp the league's social justice initiatives. "I think we're past kneeling," he said. "I think it's time for action." As a means of protesting, Kaepernick would kneel during the national anthem to bring awareness to police brutality and other injustices that affect minorities.

The workout will take place on Saturday (Nov. 16) where representatives from various NFL teams will assess if Kaepernick is ready to take the field again. This will mark the first time Kaepernick will be able to showcase his skills since being out of the league for three years.

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Former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick watches a Women's Singles second round match between Naomi Osaka of Japan and Magda Linette of Poland on day four of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 29, 2019 in Queens borough of New York City.
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Colin Kaepernick To Suit Up For Workout Invite From NFL

Since 2016, Colin Kaepernick has remained on his toes despite opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers. The decision followed a season where he kneeled during the national anthem as a means of protesting police brutality and social and economic injustice.

While keeping in shape for the day an NFL team adds him to a roster, the 32-year-old pro-athlete has shared videos of him training so that he's good to go once that day arrives. Now, it looks like he'll be able to, per his recent tweet. On Saturday (Nov. 16), Kaepernick will attend a private workout with NFL teams in Atlanta. According to ESPN, the details of the workout will include on-field drills, an interview, and other methods to determine Kaepernick's preparedness to return to the league.

"I'm just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday," Kaepernick shared with his 2.2 million Twitter followers. "I've been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can't wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday."

I’m just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday. I’ve been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday.

— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) November 13, 2019

On Oct. 10, Kaepernick's legal team released a fact sheet to clear the air on his situation. Questions like offers from NFL teams, why he declined re-signing with the 49ers, and if him filing a grievance hindered his standing with the multi-billion dollar league. Per ESPN, the league later outlined in a memo its reason for hosting a workout after conversations with the quarterback's team.

"Earlier this year, we discussed some possible steps with his representatives and they recently emphasized his level of preparation and that he is ready to work out for clubs and be interviewed by them. We have therefore arranged this opportunity for him to work out, and for all clubs to have the opportunity to evaluate his current readiness and level of interest in resuming his NFL career."

Colin Kaepernick’s representatives released statements today to clear up some facts surrounding their client: pic.twitter.com/Wo86KTkKDM

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 10, 2019

5am. 5 days a week. For 3 years. Still Ready. pic.twitter.com/AGczejA1rM

— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) August 7, 2019

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Cam Newton Launches Limited Edition Travel Bag With VINTA Supply Co.

Former NFL MVP Cam Newton has a reputation as one of the most fashion-forward athletes in the world. And now, he's placing his stamp on a new travel accessory.

In early 2019, Newton joined forces with the startup premium accessories company Vinta as a creative partner, and the two have launched Newton's first premium backpack, the TYPE-II C1N, available for pre-order at vinta.co. The bag, according to a press release, is "specifically created for style-conscious travelers and busy city living."

“I’m excited to be working with Vinta and putting my first bag out into the world. It’s called the TYPE-II C1N, and it’s designed for a person like me, with a constant schedule, who doesn’t stop and wants a fashionable, high-quality bag that’s functional for everyday life,” Newton said in a statement. “It’s customizable, stylish, and every feature has been so well thought out and designed. That’s what Vinta embodies: travel made easy. I know they’ve done it for me, and I know they’re going to do it for everyone who buys one.”

The TYPE-II C1N comes in two colors – sand and berry – and is made of a weatherproof coated twill exterior, with features such as a modular leather field pack and dopp kit, space for a 15” laptop, an elevated satin interior, internal mesh pockets, and flat lay panels.

This isn't Newton's first foray into fashion and accessories. Along with turning heads with his outrageous outfits at game days and press conferences, earlier in his career, he launched a menswear line with the Southern department store Belk.

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