Former Seattle Seahawk LB Shaquem Griffin retires from football, joins NFL Legends Program

Shaquem Griffin is more than a feel-good story, having settled in to his role as a speed rusher of the edge in his second season with Seattle.

When Shaquem Griffin was cut from the Seattle Seahawks in 2020, his sole mission was to get on another NFL team.

But after joining the Miami Dolphins — and receiving offers to work out for other squads — the linebacker realized that the rat race wasn’t what he wanted for his career.

So on Wednesday, the 27-year-old retired.

Griffin, who made history as the first one-handed player to be drafted in the modern era, explained his decision in a piece on The Player’s Tribune. He said he remembered what his father always taught him and his twin brother, Shaquill, when they would dream about making it to the NFL together.

“Plan A was to go to college, get an education and do something that would make a positive impact in the world,” Griffin, who played at UCF before being selected by the Seahawks in the fifth round of the 2018 draft, said.

An event that further spurred his decision to hang up Plan B — football — was a conversation with Roger Goodell. The NFL commissioner asked Griffin about joining the league’s Legends Program, a group of retired players who mentor current players and discuss how to make an impact beyond the field.

“Honestly, it’s still a little surreal,” Griffin said. “After everything I’ve been through in my life — all the hard work, all the doubts — it’s almost unthinkable that I’m hanging it up and moving on from the game of football.

“But I know the positive effect I’m having on others. I’m speaking at colleges and universities, talking to football teams and even presenting to corporate America about never doubting yourself and tirelessly pursuing your dreams. People at companies want to hear what I have to say when actually I’m the one that can learn so much from them. It’s crazy.”

Shaquem’s twin, Shaquill, is still playing football and is in his second season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Shaquem detailed how his brother was what motivated him to defy the odds and keep chasing his NFL dream, even missing practice with the Seahawks to comfort him when he was cut.

Shaquem expressed gratitude for all of his brother’s support and explained how, even though they both aren’t playing football anymore, they will carry on the dream that their father inspired in them.

“We’ve been told countless times, and it’s still humbling every time I hear it, that there should be a movie about our journey together, and what we’ve been through, together, always inseparable,” he said. “Maybe that day will come sooner than later. But until then, I’m gonna go build something new so I can do what Dad always told us to do: leave the world a better place than when we found it.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Daily Sports Smile: Linebacker Shaquem Griffin retires, gives back

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