Shaquem Griffin’s feel-good story went to another level on Saturday when the Seattle Seahawks selected him in the fifth round of the NFL Draft.
Griffin is a linebacker from Central Florida with one hand and the brother of Seahawks cornerback Shaquill, who was drafted by the team last year.
Griffin had his left hand amputated at four years old, due to amniotic band syndrome, but still became one of the top football players in the country. Griffin was named the 2016 American Athletic Conference defensive player of the year and won the Peach Bowl with Central Florida.
He broke out at the NFL combine this year after initially not receiving an invite, posting the best 40-yard dash time for a linebacker since 2003 and putting up 20 reps on 225 pounds on the bench press while using a prosthetic hand.
According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Griffin signed an endorsement deal with Nike on Friday and already lined up deals with Bose, JCPenny, and Eleven James, a luxury watch brand.
That a fifth-round pick could already sign so many endorsements shows how inspirational his story is to so many people.
Additionally, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Griffin has received tons of media requests from around the world but has mostly turned them down so he can focus on football.
New #Seahawks LB Shaquem Griffin received an overwhelming number of media requests from all over the world — Chinese media, an Italian TV show, South American’s version of 60 minutes, etc. He’ll turn down almost all of 'em because it’s time to just work toward being an NFL player
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 30, 2018
Indeed, while Griffin has a feel-good story, the Seahawks didn’t draft him out of sympathy. Head coach Pete Carroll said the Seahawks were impressed by Griffin’s combine performance and the interview afterward.
“We’re expecting you to come in here and bust ass,” Carroll told Griffin when informing him of their draft decision.