Ex-Seahawks LB Shaquem Griffin, NFL’s first 1-handed player, retires

Aug 24, 2022, 2:54 PM | Updated: 5:04 pm

Seahawks Shaquem Griffin...

Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin celebrates a sack against Green Bay in 2020. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

Former Seattle Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin, who had his left hand amputated at age 4 and was the first one-handed player in NFL history, announced his retirement on Wednesday.

Griffin wrote for The Players Tribune that he intends to help others working with the NFL Legends Community.

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“Football was always Plan B,” Griffin wrote. “My dad used to tell me and my brother that. As kids we had dreamed of playing together in the NFL, but whenever we talked about it, our dad would remind us that if we made it to the league — especially if we got to play together — that would be an added blessing. A bonus. Plan A was to go to college, get an education and do something that would make a positive impact in the world.”

Griffin, 27, was a fifth-round pick of the Seahawks in 2018 and reunited him with his twin brother, Shaquill, who was Seattle’s starting cornerback. Shaquem Griffin went on to play in 46 regular-season games with the Seahawks over three seasons.

He started the first game of his career in 2018 against Denver. His most famous individual moment was teaming with his brother on a sack of Aaron Rodgers during a 2019 playoff game in Green Bay.

Shaquem Griffin was cut by the Seahawks before the start of the 2020 season, but was signed to the practice squad and eventually appeared in 14 games.

Shaquem Griffin signed with Miami before the 2021 season but was cut. His brother had signed with Jacksonville as a free agent.

“The Dolphins cut me before the 2021 season,” he wrote. “I worked out for the Cardinals, the Titans and the Jets, and then I got calls from Buffalo, Dallas and Atlanta. But after that Jets workout, I realized something. All this traveling around, working out for teams, trying to catch on somewhere, trying to hang on — it wasn’t what I wanted. Football had already given me so much, and the only thing I still really wanted from the game was to play with my brother again.

“So I told my agent, Buddy Baker, thank you for grinding and bringing me these opportunities. But unless it’s Jacksonville, I’m good.”

Griffin wrote that he spoke with Commissioner Roger Goodell at a brunch during Super Bowl week in Los Angeles last season and prompted the decision to join the NFL Legends Community, the league’s official program connecting former players with their teams and the league.

“That experience and that invitation from the commissioner locked me in and led me to the decision I had to make,” Griffin wrote. “The time has come for me to retire from professional football. It’s time for me to execute my Plan A.”

Seattle Sports reaction

After the news of Shaquem Griffin’s retirement, Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy shared their reaction during their daily Four-Down Territory segment.

Here’s what co-host Michael Bumpus, a former Seahawks wide receiver and current host of the pregame and postgame shows on the Seahawks Radio Network, had to say:

“This is huge and this is beautiful. Because when you think of football players, you think of guys who are the strongest men on the planet, they can do everything. And Shaquem Griffin showed that you can have a disability and still contribute to a football team. There’s a young basketball player out there right now with one arm who’s making moves, just got an NIL deal. So for kids with some type of disability, they’re able to see guys like Shaquem Griffin out there, it gives them hope, because representation matters whether it’s a woman in a male dominated field, whether it’s a minority in a field, whether it’s a person with a disability. Once people see it’s attainable, then they start working for it. They can believe that they can get there. It gives them hope. So big ups to Shaquem Griffin, man. He broke the mold, he did something no one’s ever done before in this league. I appreciate him and I appreciate the effect that he’s had on kids all across the country with disabilities.”

You can listen to the full segment in the podcast at this link or in the player below. staff contributed to this post.

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