clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

UCF LB Shaquem Griffin benches 20 reps at NFL Combine using prosthetic on left arm

Griffin continues to prove there’s nothing he can’t do.

UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin inspired the college football world and sports fans everywhere by playing with one hand. He received an invite to the NFL Combine in late January, and showed that he was more than worth it.

On Saturday, Griffin put up 20 bench press reps of 225 pounds at the combine using a prosthetic on his left arm.

Speaking to NFL Network’s Kim Jones after the performance, he said, “My adrenaline was going through the roof. I ain’t feel like I needed to stop. As soon as I heard 16, I was like ‘Oh yeah, I’m going for 20.’” Griffin added, “A lot of people didn’t think I was going to be able to do the bench press.”

That included a GM who said he’d be impressed if Griffin did just five reps. It motivated him:

Some brief background on Griffin’s story, from the Orlando Sentinel:

Shaquem was 4 years old when doctors amputated his left hand as the result of amniotic band syndrome, a congenital birth defect that occurs in about one in every 1,200 births.

He lived with constant, scorching pain every time his jelly-like fingers and hand touched anything. One night, his mother found Shaquem in the kitchen with a knife attempting to cut his fingers off.

”He was like, ‘It’s hurting me really bad, it hurts, it hurts. Just cut it off, cut it off,’” Tangie said. “I called the doctor the next morning.”

With the doctor’s approval, Shaquem went back to daycare with this brother just 24 hours after surgery. Tangie had her concerns. Would “Quem” be OK? How would other kids respond? How would his teachers respond?

All of her questions were soon answered when she picked her boys up from school. She remembers watching Shaquem barreling toward her with a football cradled in his arm next to his bloody bandage and a flutter of his classmates running behind him.

”Of course that freaked me out,” she said. “He’s looking and showing me the ball and he’s fine. We bandaged him back up and went on from there.”

Griffin will go through linebacker and defensive back drills on Sunday. On his NFL draft profile via, he’s projected as a fifth- or sixth-round pick.

He proved he could play football at a high level with the National Champion UCF Knights, and proved everybody wrong by not only doing the bench press, but doing it at a high level.