It’s quickly turned into a “Hollywood-esque” type story at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. And the guy, playing the “hero,” just gave a memorable performance on a weight bench Saturday.
We have written frequently, so far this off season, about UCF LB/S Shaquem Griffin, and his quest to play in the NFL despite an amputated left hand. Griffin has repeatedly (and politely) cautioned all critics and doubters that they are making a mistake questioning whether he can play pro football.
Want another example?
One of the of standards by which scouts and personnel people want to judge a player’s strength is the “bench press” at the Combine. How many reps can you do at the same 225 lbs. as everyone else?
Here was Griffin on Saturday:
— NFL (@NFL) March 3, 2018
Amazing. A guy using a prosthetic device in place of his left hand on the bar, displays tremendous strength and beats his personal best in reps of 225 lbs. by 11. Yes, that’s 11 more times than he had ever benched that much weight in one session.
The scouts, personnel people, media, and other onlookers were reportedly all but cheering on the end of that effort. And, why shouldn’t they? Forget about allegiances, or “you’re not suppose to root” guidelines. How can you not root for Griffin’s story?
And if you don’t think his story is “catching on” nationally, that NFL.com video had been viewed on Twitter over 1.3 million times since Saturday afternoon.
Also, the AAC Defensive Player of the Year, actually benched more than several prominent players, including Oklahoma offensive lineman and projected first round pick, Orlando Brown.
We know that it’s only a weight lifting drill, but Griffin is gaining momentum about his draft status.
Another example? When he got his media station/podium to field questions, there were over 30 reporters, camera people, etc. waiting. Griffin actually laughed and said to the group, “I thought there would only be three of you.”
He was then asked about how he just done what he did on that weight bench, and as transcribed by the Orlando Sentinel’s Shannon Green, said: “People are going to have doubt over the things I can do and obviously it started at the bench press. Some people didn’t think I could do three or five, some people didn’t think I could do the bench press,” Griffin said. “I went and did the bench press and competed with everybody else and did 20. That’s just one step closer toward everything I need to accomplish. There’s going to be a lot more doubters saying what I can’t do and I think I’m ready to prove them wrong.”
Griffin will run the 40 yard dash Sunday. Who knows how he will do?
However, with his play on the field last season and the “just go prove them wrong” efforts he continues to make during the evaluation process, regardless of the 40 time, don’t doubt him.
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