ORLANDO, Fla. - If you've ever needed a collectors' item, it's this newly released limited-edition bobblehead of Shaquem Griffin commemorating his selection in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks.
The bobblehead, just unveiled Friday morning by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, features the one-handed football star holding up his Seahawks jersey while smiling in his draft day suit. It's the first bobblehead for Griffin, who was selected by the Seahawks with the 141st pick in the draft earlier this year.
The collectors' item is part of an annual series that commemorates the NFL's top draft picks.
You don't have to be a fan of the University of Central Florida or the Seahawks to love Griffin. His story of overcoming adversity has captured the hearts of many across the country.
The UCF alumni was born with amniotic band syndrome, which caused the fingers on his left hand to not ever fully develop.
After living with the pain since birth, Griffin's mother found him in their kitchen at 4 years old trying to use a butcher knife to cut off his own hand.
His parents scheduled an appointment to have a doctor carry out the amputation the next day.
Having one hand never stopped Griffin from competing in sports alongside his twin brother Shaquill. Their father told Shaquem he'd only have to work harder to make his dreams of becoming a professional athlete come true. And he did. The twins ran track and played baseball and football together growing up.
Having always played together, the twins wanted to continue as teammates when it came to their collegiate careers.
Shaquill received some offers his brother didn't, including the chance to play for the Miami Hurricanes, which had always been a dream of his. Shaquill's real dream, though, was to stay with Shaquem. Both eventually received scholarships to play at UCF, taking their dream of being an explosive dynamic duo to the next level in Orlando.
Shaquill graduated and was selected by the Seahawks in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft as the 90th overall pick. Shaquem stayed one more year to play on his redshirt at UCF, where he eventually became known as one of the best pass rushers in the U.S. after switching from defensive back to linebacker after two seasons.
2016 was a great year for Shaquem, who led the American Conference with 11.5 sacks as a junior and was named the 2016 American Athletic Conference Player of the Year. But 2017 was an outstanding year for the young player, who helped lead the Knights to an undefeated 13-0 season and a win over Auburn in the Peach Bowl. The team even declared themselves the 2017 National Champions after the historic win.
His success continued in 2018 after the New Year's Eve bowl game win. Although he wasn't projected to be a first round pick in the draft, he still received an invitation.
After playing a year without his brother, Shaquem was reunited with Shaquill April 28 when he received a call from the Seahawks. The Seahawks' selection also made Shaquem the first one-handed player to be drafted into the NFL.
Shaquem's hard work is still going a long way. He made his preseason debut in early August against the Indianapolis Colts and led his team in tackles with six solos and three assisted tackles. Shaquem was also named a starter in September and carried out three solo tackles in the first game of his NFL career while playing in place of veteran linebacker K.J. Wright, who was unable to play.
Phil Sklar, the co-founder and CEO of the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, said he began following Shaquem's story a few years ago and has been inspired by his story since.
"When I first saw a story about Shaquem a few years ago, I started to follow his progress and knew that we would make a bobblehead of him as soon as we could, as his story is one of the most inspirational that I’ve ever seen,” Sklar said. “This bobblehead should serve a reminder of Shaquem’s perseverance and be a source of inspiration for all fans. Bobbleheads are the ultimate honor for athletes, and we are thrilled to be honoring Shaquem with his first bobblehead.”
The 10-inch bobblehead was made by FOCO, a company best known for its manufacturing of sports and entertainment merchandise for more than 17 years, specifically for the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, which is expected to open its permanent location this fall in Milwaukee.
The limited-edition collectors' items are individually numbered to 2,018 and are selling for $40 plus shipping. Click here to find out how to purchase one.
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