Shaquem Griffin: Seizing Opportunities
Published: Mar 06, 2018 By Andrew Hernandez
If you ever find yourself questioning the road to your dream job, that maybe you should give up or try something easier, then it might be a good idea to take a look at the story of Shaquem Griffin.
Shaquem was born with a condition that caused his left hand to never fully develop. His hand was in such chronic pain that at the age of four years old he tried to cut his own fingers off with a kitchen knife. The next day, his parents decided to have the hand amputated. But even with only one hand, he never stopped playing football and chasing his dreams.
The first doubter Shaquem encountered was at the age of eight years old. An opposing coach attempted to sabotage a pre-game weigh-in to prevent Shaquem from playing. When he was finally allowed to play, he seized the opportunity by nabbing his first ever interception to win the game.
Shaquem eventually went on to play football at UCF with his twin brother Shaquill. While Shaquill saw playing time early and often, leading to a third round selection in the 2017 NFL draft by the Seattle Seahawks, Shaquem wasn’t given his chance until his junior season. Again, he took full advantage of the opportunity. He’d end up winning a Defensive Player of the Year award, Peach Bowl Defensive MVP, and a National Championship.
But even after all that, Shaquem was still being doubted to make it to the next stage, his dream of playing in the NFL. Critics voiced concerns that his missing hand could provide tackling issues at the next level. Even though that hasn't been the case throughout his career including his 12 total tackles (3.5 for a loss) and 1.5 sacks against the SEC powerhouse team Auburn. So when the NFL Scouting Combine, a scouting camp to evaluate potential players in the draft, sent out their invites, Shaquem grew frustrated he wasn't included.
Tell me what I need to do 😤😤 https://t.co/x7Z3Uu5xZs— shaquem griffin (@Shaquemgriffin) January 4, 2018
Someone at the NFL must've changed their mind because Shaquem was ultimately invited. And once again, he seized the opportunity. He posted the fastest 40 yard dash time ever by a linebacker. Not to mention his impressive bench press of 20 reps of 225 pounds, with one hand.
Once regarded by scouts to be a very late pick or even undrafted, coaches are now saying he's a fourth round pick. We won't know for sure where he will land until April 26. But at this point, it doesn't matter. Shaquem Grffin has fought through more adversity and skepticism than most others. And now he's on the brink of realizing his dreams, after a lifetime of hard work.
It's almost impossible to see his success and not feel inspired to achieve your own career goals, no matter how daunting the road may look.