Shaquem Griffin becomes first one-handed player picked in NFL Draft

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Shaquem Griffin becomes first one-handed player picked in NFL Draft (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Seattle Seahawks drafted University of Central Florida linebacker and St. Petersburg native Shaquem Griffin on Saturday in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Griffin, who sat through 100 names being called in the first three rounds, wasn't in AT&T Stadium on Saturday.

Griffin, whose left hand was amputated when he was young, has become the feel-good story this year and one of the most popular players in this draft because of his perseverance, outgoing personality and, of course, his talent.

"I mean that was amazing," Griffin said. "To even have an opportunity to come back, I didn't think I was going to be able to come back and do it. I don't remember seeing too many people who have left and came back."

"That was the most amazing experience of my entire life. Me thinking about it, that moment, to be up on that stage and having the crowd go crazy, it was like we had won the Peach Bowl all over again. It was nuts."

Griffin helped UCF go undefeated last season, then blew through the NFL combine with a 4.38 in the 40, sensational lifting work with his prosthetic, and a can-do attitude.

Exactly the sort of player the Seahawks seem to find; they drafted his twin brother, Shaquill, out of UCF last year.

"It's been a really good experience," Shaquem said. "I would have been crazy to turn an experience down like this. I'm just glad I was one of the selected few to be here."

Griffin had one of the more unusual ways of finding out he was chosen.

"I was using the restroom and my brother came and tackled me with my cellphone, saying 'answer it, answer it,' and I looked, and that's when tears started pouring down," Griffin explained.

"I literally went to use the restroom and that's when my brother busted in and tackled me. I think I was more scared of him tackling me in the bathroom and not knowing what was happening than anything," Griffin said.

Griffin received, by far, the biggest cheers of the day - louder even than when the Cowboys' selections were announced. And he made a promise: "Great things are coming to Seattle."

Griffin's selection early in the fifth round enlivened a day in which most picks are relatively unknown or obscure players. Not all, though.
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