If you’re not a huge football fan (or just not a crazy person that loves to watch prospects run 40-yard dashes and lift weights), you probably didn’t watch the 2018 NFL combine. The NFL Combine is an annual event where those that are entering that year’s draft demonstrate their skills to sell themselves to teams as to why they should be selected. Players run a 40-yard dash, bench press and show off the individual skills they’ve developed over the years.
The big story coming out of the weekend was Saquon Barkley, the Penn State running back, who put on an impressive display of athleticism that will surely get him drafted high, possibly first overall. However, Barkley wasn’t the only star to come out the combine.
The University of Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin came to the NFL combine knowing that he had an uphill battle ahead of him in his quest to show scouts why he deserved to be drafted by their team. Not because of his lack of skills or anything like that, but rather for the fact that Griffin only has one hand.
Despite putting together an impressive college career, including being named the 2016 American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year, Griffin knew that his disability would cause teams to hesitate to select him.
Griffin was born with a rare condition called amniotic band syndrome, which stunted development in his left hand and also caused him a great deal of pain. Finally, when he was four, his hand was amputated, and he’s been one-handed ever since.
At the combine, Griffin blew prospects away with what he was able to do. Using a prosthetic grip, he was able to bench press 225 pounds 20 times. Not only that, but he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash, the fastest linebacker in 15 years to do so at the combine.
In case you already weren’t impressed enough, Griffin had this to say following his bench press exhibition:
“So many people are going to have doubts about what I can do, and obviously, it started at the bench press…some people think I can do three, some people think I can do five, some people didn’t think I could do the bench press. But I did it and competed with everybody else and did 20, and that’s just one step closer to everything I need to accomplish. There’s going to be a lot more doubters saying what I can’t do, and I’m ready to prove them wrong.”
Griffin’s story has a Disney movie written all over it. In the meantime, check out the clips of Griffin’s performance at the Combine below:
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) March 4, 2018
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) March 3, 2018