Shaquem Griffin, who played three seasons in the NFL with an amputated left hand, announced his retirement on Wednesday.
The 27-year-old Griffin — who was drafted in the fifth round by the Seattle Seahawks in 2018 despite having his left hand amputated at age 4 — wrote in The Players’ Tribune that he intends to help others working with the NFL Legends Community.
“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.”
In 2018, Griffin, who played in 46 regular-season games for the Seahawks, played with his twin brother, Shaquill, who was Seattle’s starting cornerback.
The Seahawks congratulated Griffin on his retirement Wednesday, tweeting: “Your story will be remembered for generations.”
The best individual highlight moment of the outside linebacker’s career came when he teamed with his brother to sack Aaron Rodgers during a 2019 playoff game in Green Bay.
The Seahawks cut Shaquem Griffin before the start of the 2020 season, but signed him to the practice squad, and he eventually appeared in 14 games.
Shaquem Griffin inked a deal with the Miami Dolphins 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 also thanked his family and former coaches — Scott Frost at UCF and Pete Carroll and the Seahawks coaching staff — “for taking a chance on me.”
Griffin wrote that his decision to join the NFL Legends Community was prompted from a discussion he had with commissioner Roger Goodell at a brunch during Super Bowl week.
The NFL Legends community is the league’s official program connecting former players with their teams an 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.”
— with AP