Shaquem Griffin, a linebacker who excelled in college and made it to the NFL despite having his left hand amputated when he was a child, announced his retirement on Wednesday.
Griffin, 27, who has not played in the regular season since 2020, outlined his future plans in a piece he wrote for The Players’ Tribune and said that he is looking forward to helping others as part of the NFL Legends Community.
Griffin’s left hand was amputated when he was 4 due to amniotic band syndrome, a congenital condition, ESPN reported. He became the first player with one hand to be drafted in the NFL’s modern era when the Seattle Seahawks selected him in the fifth round out of the University of Central Floirida in 2018. That reunited him with his twin brother, Shaquill Griffin, who was then Seattle’s starting left cornerback.
In a tweet, the NFL called Griffin “a true inspiration.”
“The time has come for me to retire from professional football,” Shaquem Griffin wrote in The Players’Tribune.
The Griffin brothers were Seahawks teammates from 2018 to 2020. Shaquem Griffin played in 46 games in the NFL and had 25 tackles and a sack, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com.
Griffin also sacked Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the divisional round of the 2019 playoffs, which led to a memorable moment of him celebrating with his brother, ESPN reported.
“It’s time for me to execute my Plan A,” Griffin wrote.
“Plan A, for me, was always to help people,” he told NFL.com. “You know, not knowing how it was going to look, not knowing how it was going to come about, but I always want to pave that way to help anybody. My mom was somebody who always helped somebody and my dad kind of preached to us like, ‘Plan B is football. Plan A is what you need to focus on. That’s what you go to school for, that’s what you get the good grades for.’ Now it’s starting to become a real thing, and that’s why I was smiling so hard because it’s an exciting thing.
“It’s bittersweet, yes, but it’s an exciting moment to embark on a journey that I always wanted to be in, and that’s motivating people, helping people,” Griffin added. “Having people have that positive mindset; that mentality to be better than what you think you really are because you have so many people who believe in you, love you and sometimes you got to tap into that side to see more for yourself and that’s what I was able to do.”
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