If Panthers draft Shaquem Griffin, he could be more than just a great story

Jourdan Rodrigue, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Football

Central Florida linebacker/safety Shaquem Griffin became this year's most inspiring NFL draft story at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.

Griffin was born with amniotic band syndrome, a congenital condition that caused him to lose his left hand at age 4. He played football his entire life despite the disability, ultimately helping lead the Knights to an undefeated 2017. He was the Defensive Player of the Year honors for the American Athletic Conference in 2016, and a second-team All-American.

His disability also didn't stop him from becoming a national name at the combine this year.

And the Carolina Panthers should be on notice.

Griffin, testing with the linebackers, measured in at 6-feet and 227 pounds and put up 20 repetitions at 225 pounds on the bench press with a prosthetic hand and wrist.

He's come a long way since first getting fitted for the prosthetic his during his freshman year of college.

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"I could barely bench the bar," Griffin said. "I mean, I'm shaking all over the place and the bar is falling, and I can't lift 45 pounds. But it just goes to show how much work I put in to get to this point.

"From shaking with the bar, I remember doing my first pull-up. ... My mom saw me do my first pull-up my freshman year and she's emotional and she started crying. ... But it's amazing to see how far I came, from not being able to bench the bar to throwing up 20 reps at 225, and able to compete with the best here."

Griffin also ran a blazing-fast 4.38 40-yard dash that went viral and attracted the attention of many current and former players. It was the fastest-recorded 40-yard dash by a linebacker in the history of the event.

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who is teammates with Griffin's brother Shaquill, even tweeted that Griffin should go in the first two days of the draft.


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