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Sport Shaquem Griffin refuses to let hand amputation dash NFL dream

20:11  04 march  2018
20:11  04 march  2018 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Shaquem Griffin should hope every top NFL personnel executive sees him in the same light as Tom Telesco does.When it comes to the University of Central

INDIANAPOLIS — Shaquem Griffin should hope every top NFL personnel executive sees him in the same light as Tom Telesco does. Griffin hasn't let the impediment — the result of a birth defect (Amniotic Band Syndrome) that caused amputation at the age of four — dash his football dreams .

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One- handed linebacker Shaquem Griffin was one of the best stories from the NFL combine. How did he lose his hand ? When Tangie Griffin was pregnant, an ultrasound revealed that a fibrous strand of the amniotic membrane had wrapped around Shaquem 's left wrist.

Shaquem Griffin , a linebacker who had his left hand amputated when he was 4, has wowed NFL scouts with his strength and speed. I'm gonna be called Shaquem Griffin the football player, not Shaquem Griffin the one- hand wonder. "I don't need that name.

INDIANAPOLIS — Shaquem Griffin should hope every top NFL personnel executive sees him in the same light as Tom Telesco does.

When it comes to the University of Central Florida linebacker’s lack of a left hand affecting his draft stock, the Chargers general manager said the words Griffin wants to hear.

"You wouldn't notice it watching him play," Telesco told me this week at the NFL Scouting Combine. "You just don't."

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Griffin hasn't let the impediment — the result of a birth defect (Amniotic Band Syndrome) that caused amputation at the age of four — dash his football dreams. Griffin excelled the past two seasons for the Knights, including his 62-tackle, 5.5-sack 2017 campaign that helped UCF finish as the only unbeaten FBS team.

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Shaquem Griffin had to wait until the third day of the NFL draft to hear his named called. The former University of Central Florida linebacker Griffin had said he would love to be drafted by the Seahawks so he could play alongside his twin brother, Shaquill, a third-round pick by Seattle a year ago.

Shaquem Griffin was under the radar just a few months ago, but after emerging as one of the most inspirational players out of the NFL Combine, his story will culminate in Dallas next month. The linebacker from UCF whose left hand was amputated when he was 4 barely got invited to the

"I could have been that kid who can feel all the negativities that were thrown at me,” Griffin told co-host Bill Polian and me earlier this week on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “A lot of coaches and guys were saying that, 'Football wasn't for one-handed players. It’s only for 2-handed players.'

"Instead, I always turn a negative into a positive. I always use a negative as fuel for me to do better. Every time somebody assumed I couldn't do something I made sure that I’d do it — and I’d do it better than they’d ever think I would."

While doing that, the 6-2, 222-pound Griffin became one of the NCAA’s most inspirational players and a role model for youngsters who are dealing with similar physical disabilities. Griffin was recently named the inaugural Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year, an award presented to someone "who has demonstrated a record of leadership by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship both on and off the field."

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Shaquem Griffin , a Seattle Seahawks linebacker, is out to prove he’s more than an inspirational player this NFL season. His father, Terry Griffin , still put him through the same football drills as his twin brother, Shaquill Griffin , and even adapted gym equipment so the boys could work out together.

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"He’s an outstanding kid," Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said during his Combine news conference. "He’s very exciting to watch on film because he just plays with heart, with passion. He gives you everything he has on every snap."

But as uplifting as Griffin’s journey is, sentimentality only goes so far among NFL decision-makers.

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Teams must be convinced Griffin can tackle effectively and shed blocks at the NFL level as part of the draft evaluation. Those skills won’t be showcased in Combine drills for Griffin, who wasn't initially invited to the event despite his standing as a two-time All American Athletic Conference first-team selection. Griffin only received his Combine slot after an impressive week in late January at the Reese’s Senior Bowl.

"It’s something you’d have to talk to the trainers about and see what his restrictions would be moving forward,” Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said. “Putting players in a position to succeed … that would be a key. Can he do the things we ask him to do?"

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Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin was selected 141st overall by the Seattle Seahawks in the fifth Griffin , who lost his left hand at the age of 4 because of a rare condition before birth, quickly And they continued throughout this whole process to let me know how much they loved my brother

The one- handed linebacker has been impressing scouts all weekend but social media went nuts when he ran a unofficial 4.38 in the 40-yard dash . One of the biggest storylines of the NFL Scouting Combine is UCF's Shaquem Griffin . The one- handed linebacker has been impressing scouts all

Telesco believes he can.

"He plays with activity and instincts and speed and run-and-hit (skills),” Telesco said. “He's had that (amputation) his whole life. He knows how to compensate for it. I don’t think he even thinks about it. It may be different if the injury happened later in his career where you have to figure out a way around it.”

One thing Telesco admits is NFL teams must figure out the position where Griffin fits best besides being projected as a core special-teams player upon entering the league.

Griffin, who uses a prosthetic to help him complete football strength drills such as the bench press and pull-ups, said different teams have projected him playing in a variety of different roles. He was used as a rush defensive end, outside linebacker and safety by the Texans coaching staff at the Senior Bowl. Griffin added that “if you need me at middle linebacker I can play there, too," because "I can get to the ball sideline to sideline."

"I think that I’m gonna be pretty much good wherever I am," Griffin said.

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Seattle general manager John Schneider allowed that the Seahawks were one of the clubs that will conduct a formal 15-minute interview with Griffin at the Combine. That could increase the odds Shaquem will have the chance to reunite with his twin brother Shaquille, who already is a Seahawks cornerback after leaving Central Florida the previous year.

"That would be one heck of a story, I can tell you that,” Griffin said with a laugh.

To go with the one Shaquem already has written.

"We’ve been able to show that when somebody says you can’t do something, the only person that can stop you is the person that’s looking back in the mirror,” he said. "You’ve got to remember, that’s the only person that can stop you from accomplishing everything you want out of life."

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