Adversity Reveals Character

Story by Cody Pech

Iowa City, Iowa – Adversity causes some men to break, and others to break records. Shaquem Griffin’s name may not ring a bell to most Hawk fans. He’s not from Iowa, nor has he ever played in a game against Iowa. So why are we featuring him in today’s article?

Because Griffin has an incredible story and it is a gesture of gratitude to a young man who has fought through adversity all his life. Griffin was born with amniotic band syndrome and at a young age actually tried to self amputate his own fingers to relieve the pain. Griffin’s parents would have his hand amputated just one day later. By a professional staff Orthopedic surgeon, not a 4 year old.

Since the amputation Griffin has refused to let his disability hold him back. He played sports while growing up and went on to be the starting linebacker at UCF where he was named the Peach Bowl defensive MVP.

Then Saturday rolled around, and the young man still chasing his dream to play in the NFL had a chance to display his talents at the combine. The nerves were high. One NFL GM had said earlier in the week that he’d be impressed if Griffin were able to do 5 reps at 225 on the standard bench press drill at the combine given that he only has one full arm.

Then this happened:

Yes, using a prosthetic left hand, Griffin put up 20 reps of 225. Blowing the GM who thought 5 would be great out of the water. Safe to say that GM was simply another doubter who only fueled Griffin’s fire.

Griffin is going to be an easy player to root for in the coming years. What an awesome display of heart and determination. There’s so much a young man like Griffen can teach all of us.

Check out the NFL Network on Sunday morning at 8am to see Josey Jewell and Shaquem Griffin take part in Linebacker drills live from Indy!

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