Entering the NFL as the first player drafted with only one hand, Seattle Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin broke barriers when the team drafted him back in April.
Since being selected, the younger Griffin twin has emphasized focusing on playing football and improving every day, aiming to become more than simply a feel-good story.
So far, so good for the former AAC Defensive Player of the Year.
In his much-anticipated debut, Griffin showcased his elite 4.38 40-yard dash speed and his natural instincts were on full display as he finished the night leading the Seahawks with nine total tackles. After watching him perform well throughout training camp, coach Pete Carroll wasn't surprised to see the rookie excel in his first NFL game.
When asked about Griffin's first showing as a Seahawk following Thursday's 19-17 loss to the Colts, Carroll said "Yeah, really fired up about it. This is what he looks like in practice, you know. He's running around and he's really fast. By understanding the scheme, he's utilizing his opportunities to really be on the attack."
Carroll called Griffin a "weapon" due to his ability to quickly decipher what the opponents are doing offensively and attack the line of scrimmage. However, he was also quick to point out that until the coaching staff watches the film, they won't have a true gauge of how well he played.
"We gotta see how accurate he was, if he was right or if he was guessing a little bit or how he hit it." Carroll told reporters, adding: "But we're really fired up that he was involved."
It wasn't a perfect performance for Griffin by any means, as he surrendered a nine-yard reception after being shoved aside by tight end Jack Doyle in coverage. He also whiffed badly on a tackle attempt against third-string quarterback Phillip Walker on a read-option run, showing he's still got plenty of room to grow.
But overall, Carroll was enthused by how he handled his first extended action in a game situation and he's looking forward to reviewing the tape to help the young linebacker continue his progression.
"He played quite a bit now cause he played a lot in the middle of the portion of this game, so we'll get some really good looks."