Shaquem Griffin is used to being doubted. Playing football with one hand creates skeptics.
But the Central Florida linebacker, who has now been invited to the 2018 NFL Draft, said that the support he’s felt during his career has helped buoy him.
“I was a guy who was under the radar and who they didn’t believe in at first, but I feel like they’re starting to believe now,” Griffin said after his pro day workout, via Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel. “I have the entire nation behind me now.”
The 4.38-second 40-yard dash and 20 repetitions of the 225-pound bench press got everyone’s attention in Indianapolis, as well as game tape that shows him helping his team to an undefeated season with his pass-rush skills and playmaking.
“Everybody is late to the party,” teammate Mike Hughes said. “Everyone who lives in Orlando and roots for UCF knows what Shaquem is capable of and now the whole world is starting to realize it.”
While he’s not expected to be drafted in the first round, his story of persistence won’t go bad if he has to stay in Dallas an extra night before finding his new team on the second or even third day of the proceedings. And those who know him best are glad to see others realizing that.
“We got back from Minnesota. I had an opportunity to talk with Josh. We were able to work some things out,” Belichick said. “I’m thrilled he’s still with us and is going to continue in his role. I think he’s the top offensive coordinator in the league. He’s done a great job for me for a long time in a lot of different roles so very glad, based on the meeting we had, there were a number of things that happened, but after the meeting that we had we were able to work that out and keep him with us.”
Patriots owner Robert Kraft made it worth McDaniels’ while financially to stay in New England, and Kraft said that was money well spent.
“It’s very important,” Kraft said. “I can’t tell you how happy I am he’s coming back. I think he’s the best offensive coordinator and has shown that when he’s been with us. He has a great football intellect. We’re really happy he decided to stay with us.”