One-handed LB Shaquem Griffin has inspirational message
It was an unprecedented move that inspired all who attended the final day of the NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Central Florida linebacker Shaquem Griffin, who has one hand, received a thunderous, standing ovation when he was drafted in the fifth round by the Seattle Seahawks. Griffin lost his left hand due to a rate prenatal condition.
At the time, Griffin wasn't at the stadium, but he had been around town all week after being invited to participate in pre-draft festivities.
Later in the fifth round, moderator Shannon Hanson announced that Griffin was still in town and would be coming to the stadium. He was making his way through the Metroplex traffic.
Hanson invited the thousands of fans who were attending the NFL Experience outside to join the crowd inside the stadium for the ceremony. And many came.
Then it happened.
Griffin, wearing a blue jacket walked onto the stage and was greeted with a football-game like ovation.
He was presented a hat that had "We are 12" on it. After posing for photos for the media, he was escorted to the "Inner-Circle" area on the stadium floor where 50 jersey-clad fans of each of the 32 teams clapped in unison as he made his way to the Seahawks fans.
The "Inner Circle" was established for the first time at any draft event and featured rivalry zones for 50 fans of each team. But the Griffin ceremony made that moot, at least for a few minutes, as fans from all teams reached out to shake his hand and pat him on his back and he walked through the Inner Circle.
Once he reached the Seahawks fans, Griffin celebrated with the group and took photos.
He returned to the stage ad tried to sum up the day.
"It's an amazing experience," Griffin said. "It's a long road coming. I'm happy to be here."
Griffin joins twin brother Shaquill, who was drafted by Seattle in 2017. Shaquill and other family members were on the for the ceremony.
"That's the call I've been waiting for my entire life," Griffin said.