It isn’t often that a rookie who’s never played a single down gets so much publicity. And a fifth round pick? Forget it. Unless he’s Shaquem Griffin.
Now, we’re not the kind of guys who say we told you so, but we told you so. There might not be anyone in the NFL bigger than Shaquem Griffin right now. He is getting a crazy amount of buzz, and we love it. For example, he was named the Co-Grand Marshal for the opening ceremony for the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games. ABC will carry the opening ceremony live this Sunday, beginning at 12:30 pm Pacific.
Griffin is one of the players featured in the trailer for the video game Madden NFL 19. Maybe you don’t play games, or don’t think this is a big deal. Madden is a multi-billion dollar franchise, and sells over 5 million copies of the game every year. So when a major player like that features a fifth round pick, well yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.
Shaquem and his big brother Shaquill had the honor of throwing out the first pitch at the Mariners game Friday night. Actually, Shaquem threw the first pitch, a strike, to his catcher Shaquill. You know you want to see it.
It isn’t all fun and games for Shaquem Griffin
Shaquem was featured in this amazing video from NFL 360 two days before the NFL Draft. It’s inspiring, beautiful, and literally awesome. Awesome in that the stories you’ll see and hear will absolutely fill you with awe. Assuming you have a heart, that is.
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Tell me you didn’t tear up when you watched that. Come on, you know you did, tough guy. It was like Niagara Falls, I’m sure. I think that may be the only possible reaction to the determination on those kids faces, and in their hearts. And Shaquem Griffin is leading the way for these kids.
Make no mistake, he has to perform on the field or his story could turn into one of those features on CBS Sunday Morning. You know, the feel-good stories that make you smile, or maybe shed a tear or two. Then two weeks later you can’t remember what it was about.
I don’t think for a moment that’s going to happen, though. He’s far from the first athlete who has to overcome physical challenges to compete. Pitcher Jim Abbott and kicker Tom Dempsey are two of the best known and most successful disabled athletes ever. Griffin will surpass them on the field, I’m sure of it. Off the field, this guy is a star that will only shine brighter.