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.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) April 28, 2018
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.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) April 28, 2018