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One-Handed Football Player Makes NFL History—And His Emotional Reaction Is Everything

One-Handed Football Player Makes NFL History—And His Emotional Reaction Is Everything
(CBS This Morning/YouTube)

Shaquem Griffin defied expectations and made history as the first one-handed footballer to be drafted into the NFL on Saturday.

The University of Central Florida linebacker was Seattle Seahawks' pick on the third day of the 2018 NFL Draft at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The ecstatic athlete got the celebratory news in the company of family and friends, and his priceless reaction was caught on film.

According to People, an overjoyed Griffin told Today, "I couldn't breathe. I didn't know what to say. I was trying to get the words out, but I couldn't talk."

Many assumed the odds were against him when it came to playing for the NFL at all. Griffin was born with a congenital condition called amniotic band syndrome which rendered his left hand non-functional but also excruciatingly painful.

At the age of four, he made the decision to tell his parents to amputate the appendage. He told CBS that he returned from surgery the next morning and ignored his mother's wishes to rest. For him, it was already game on.

I remember after surgery the next day, my mom was like, 'Don't get your bandage dirty, don't go outside and throw the ball. But I came back inside with a football in my hand with a bloody bandage. But I knew I felt better and I was just happy to play. The joy that I have for me to play the game with my brothers was more than anything.

That passion and drive is what drove the 22-year-old athlete refusing to believe he was physically disadvantaged and defied the odds by snagging the cornerback position for the Seattle Seahawks.

Griffin said the process of waiting on an announcement took a long time as he and his family gathered at the player's Dallas hotel room.

I was waiting for a while, and I had to use the restroom.

When the phone rang at 1 p.m., his twin brother – who also plays for the Seahawks – recognized the 425 area code on his brother's phone and told him to answer. Sure enough, it was the Seahawks GM John Schneider on the other end waiting to deliver the exciting news.

His mother was most likely the proudest person in that hotel room.

And no matter which team you root for, the Seahawks scored major points with their pick.

H/T - People, YouTube, SportsIllustrated