It’s understandable the former UCF LB/S Shaquem Griffin is eager. Eager to prove to everyone: the NFL, the haters, and the fans, that he can play at the professional level. And, it’s not surprising that as Griffin arrived at the Seattle Seahawks facility late this week, his motor was on high to get going.
And on Friday, it was the first time for last year’s AAC Defensive Player of the Year to set foot on an NFL practice field (albeit in helmet and shorts) at the Seahawks rookie mini camp. And, their veteran college and NFL championship coach had a clear message to the former Knights star: slow down.
According to Seattle’s official website, Pete Carroll told the media Friday afternoon,
“Shaquem looked very aggressive,“ Carroll said on Friday. “He was trying to run through (everything), we had to slow him down in some stuff early in the practice. In the walkthrus he was going too hard so we had to chill him out a little bit. But he’s very excited about being here and he’s a very, very good looking prospect.”
Carroll continued on the subject of all the attention on Shaquem Griffin and what that means for a rookie:
“It’s been a great story, it will always be a great story, but right now he’s got work to do and he’s got focus he’s got to generate,” Carroll said. “He’s got a lot of people tugging on him and for all of the right reasons and all of that, but I know that he’s very determined and we are to help him in his pursuit of making the club and making a spot and all of that. He’s like everybody else, he’s got to compete like everybody. He’s going to do it, he’s going to bring it.
Griffin, who was picked in the fifth round a week ago Saturday, was out on the field with the other Seahawks draft picks, as well as un-drafted rookies getting their first taste of what this summer and fall will be like. And, he told the media:
“We have an amazing coaching staff here where they don’t want you to think about making mistakes, they want you to play fast and let them correct you. That’s very important when you don’t have to feel afraid to go fast or make a mistake.”
Sure, there will be mistakes made, but Friday was an historic first step for the only player to be on an NFL football field with an amputated hand. He’s defied the odds and silenced the doubters to this point. The Seahawks just want him to back off the accelerator some in the short term.
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