The NFL combine kicked off Friday with runningbacks, offensive linemen, kickers, and special teamers starting their drills. Today, we saw quarterbacks, wide receivers, and tight ends being their groups. To some, the real thrill is watching players do the strength test of the bench press.
We’ve already had great performances players like Penn State RB Saquan Barkley and Georgia RB Nick Chubb both put up 29 reps. UTEP OL Will Hernandez thew up 37. We even saw an injury to a top prospect. Ohio State’s OL Billy Price suffered a torn pectoral just three reps into his set.
With all of the excitement building around the event, one guy had everybody’s attention. On Saturday, with the LB’s, everyone wanted to UCF LB Shaquem Griffin. Griffin helped UCF capture an AAC championship on their way to an undefeated season. He was named the defensive MVP of the Peach Bowl this season, and in 2016 was named the Defensive Player of the Year for the entire conference.
He’s impressed just about everyone on his journey. Even more impressive, Griffin has done this all with just one hand. His left hand was amputated at a young age as a result of a syndrome he suffered from that caused his hand not to fully develop. He and his brother Shaquill, who is a CB for the Seattle Seahawks, have made their way through college football and are now trying to be yet another pair of siblings in the NFL.
Today, Griffin stepped up to the bench. He was given a prosthetic to balance the bar and prevent injury. What happened next was truly amazing. Griffin is an inspiration, on top of the fact that he’s a fantastic football player. He won’t be defined by his physical differences, but what will define him is his heart and ability. A team will take him in the draft, and he will have the opportunity to compete in the NFL, as he should.