Nebraska staff’s former disciple gets encouragement from surprise source

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01: Shaquem Griffin
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01: Shaquem Griffin /

Former Nebraska football coach disciple Shaquem Griffin’s journey is best understood by one former Major League Baseball player.

Nebraska football coaches heaped praise on Shaquem Griffin after he was taken in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. His is a story of inspiration that the entire Cornhuskers’ staff saw up close and personal when they were at UCF.

He is one of their proteges and a true success story. Having lost a hand when he was just four years old, Griffin decided he wanted to play football alongside his brother anyway.

The pair were both good enough to play all through high school, all through college and now they have a chance to play on the same team in the NFL. Griffin was one of the best players on the UCF defense a year ago.

The only reason he went in the fifth round is because of that missing hand. Even with that making some skeptical of whether or not he can cut it at the highest level, the Seattle Seahawks are going to give him a chance to prove doubters wrong.

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One man who understands all too well what Griffin is trying to do is Jim Abbott. The former Major League Baseball pitcher tweeted out his congratulations to Griffin on Saturday night.

The message was short and sweet, but it carried quite a bit of power along with it. “Thrilled for you @Shaquemgriffin. Beyond words …”

For those who don’t know, Abbott does not have a right hand. Abbot was born without the hand but didn’t let that stop him from pursuing his own big league dreams.

In order to pitch, he would rest his baseball glove on the end of his right arm, then quickly put it on his left hand after he delivered the pitch, so as to be ready to catch the ball should he need to.

He had this routine down so well that he actually managed to pitch a no-hitter for the New York Yankees back in 1993. Over the course of his career, he won 87 games.

To some degree, Griffin has it a bit easier. While it’s not going to be easy to bring an offensive player down with only one hand, but like Abbot, the linebacker has found a system that works for him.

Next: Where former Huskers landed on NFL Draft weekend

The odds are long for Shaquem Griffin that he’ll be able to play at the highest level. Don’t tell that to Nebraska football coaches, who spent months making sure anyone and everyone knew they thought he could absolutely play in the NFL. Now it’s all about sitting back and seeing what happens.