Linebacker Shaquem Griffin announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday, in a post on The Players Tribune. The 27-year-old linebacker is looking forward to pursuing what he calls “Plan A,” which is making a positive impact in the world.
Griffin became the first one-handed player drafted into the NFL when the Seattle Seahawks took him with their fifth-round pick in 2018. Being drafted to Seattle reunited him with twin brother Shaquil, who was a starting cornerback for the Seahawks at the time.
Griffin refused to let his disability slow him down. After a terrific career at the University of Central Florida, Griffin still had a lot to prove at the 2018 NFL Combine. Griffin took the chip on his shoulder and ran with it—literally. He ran a 4.38 40-yard dash and pushed out 20 reps at 225 pounds on the bench press.
After three seasons in Seattle, Griffin was waived in 2020. Griffin does not give himself pity and does not want other people to give him any either. “ I didn’t want people thinking, Aw, the one-handed player got cut. I don’t do sympathy, man. I don’t like people feeling sorry for me,” Griffin wrote. Griffin recorded nine tackles and a sack in his time with the Seahawks.
Since then, Griffin has worked out for a host of teams and has had some interest. Despite having a chance to continue his playing career in the NFL, Griffin had a life-changing epiphany. “I worked out for the Cardinals, the Titans, and the Jets,” Griffin said, “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.”
On to Plan A
Griffin described how his father instilled the value of having a more important “Plan A” than football. Griffin describes “Plan A” as doing something that positively impacts the world. After meeting with Roger Goodell at last year’s Super Bowl, an opportunity for Griffin’s “Plan B” to meet his “Plan A” presented itself. Commissioner Goodell invited Griffin to join the NFL Legends Community to inspire current and former NFL players.
Griffin closes out his retirement announcement by thanking the most influential people throughout his journey. He highlights his parents and family before thanking his former UCF coach and the Seahawks organization for giving him a chance. He also thanks Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright for mentoring him. Last but certainly not least he writes a heartfelt message to his twin brother Shaquil. Griffin concludes with the simple but sure statement, “On to Plan A.”