There are two things Shaquem Griffin has had to get used to in his life – adversity and being snubbed. Fortunately, his brother has been with him every step of the way.
The linebacker realised his NFL dream on Saturday as he was drafted in the fifth round by the Seattle Seahawks, joining his twin brother Shaquill in the Pacific Northwest, after a remarkable journey to the professional ranks.
Shaquem was born with amniotic band syndrome, a condition leading the fingers on his left hand to not fully develop.
So severe was pain in his hand that the four-year-old Shaquem attempted to self-amputate his fingers with a butcher knife, with that incident prompting his parents to take him to hospital to have the hand amputated.
But that turn of events did not stop Griffin from pursuing a sporting career as he competed in track and field and baseball as well as football, and left Lakewood High School graded as a three-star athlete in the collegiate recruiting class.
Yet when it came time to make the jump to college it was Shaquill who received the greater interest and refused offers from several high-profile schools because they would not also sign Shaquem.
Central Florida agreed to do so, but Shaquem's path to stardom with the Knights proved far from straightforward as he was dropped to third string and then the scout team in his second season.
However, rather than quit, Shaquem fought his way back to the starting defense and flourished under head coach Scott Frost, compiling 33.5 tackles for loss and 18.5 sacks in his final two seasons and being named American Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 2016.
Shaquem's tale has been one defined by relentlessness. Despite the stellar end to his career at UCF, he had to campaign for an invite to the Scouting Combine, with an excellent week of practices at the Senior Bowl - the premier All-Star game for college prospects - helping him to secure one.
Not stopping there he subsequently stole the show in Indianapolis with 20 bench reps using a prosthetic arm and a lightning fast 40-yard dash time of 4.38 seconds.
His performance at the Combine led to Griffin becoming an international sensation and talk of him being drafted in the second or third round but, in keeping with the rest of his journey, Shaquem had to endure one last snub as he slipped to 141st overall when the Seahawks made the call.
Fittingly it was Shaquill who spotted Shaquem's phone ringing first, bursting into the bathroom to urge him to answer.
"That was the phone call I've been waiting for my entire life," Shaquem said on NFL Network. "I couldn't breathe, I forgot how to talk, I was just lost for words.
"The opportunity to play with my brother, we made it to the next chapter of my life and we're still together."
They are still together and, with Shaquill likely to start for the Seahawks at cornerback following Richard Sherman's exit, they figure to play a big role as Seattle look to maintain a long-standing reputation of excellent play on defense.
But for Shaquem, his story, though not complete, is about more than proving he is worthy of a place in the NFL, it is about showing to those he has inspired that anything is possible.
"It don't matter if you have one hand, two hands, three hands, 40 hands," he added. "If you keep pushing for everything you want in life you can accomplish it."
Shaquem has kept pushing on every stop of his road to the NFL, he has overcome every obstacle and every setback he has faced. With his determination, and a brother like Shaquill, the sky truly is the limit for Shaquem, and it would be foolish to bet against him becoming an NFL success with the Seahawks.
|Sherman calls for NFL to scrap ´idiotic´ helmet rule|
|Gordon confirms Cleveland Browns return|
|Eagles QB Nick Foles suffers shoulder strain|
|Giants medical team discovered tumour in Brittan Golden´s mouth|
|Foles isn´t worried about Brady´s handshake snub|
|Eli Manning on Jalen Ramsey´s comments: ´Who?´|
|Jaguars DB Ramsey calls Bills QB Allen ´trash´|
|Steelers QB Roethlisberger in concussion protocol|
|Roethlisberger evaluated for concussion after practice|
|Brady ´absolutely´ expects to face Eagles|
|Wentz ´gonna be close´ for Eagles opener|
|Cleveland ´victory fridges´ to unlock beer if Browns finally win|
|Rookie LB Roquan Smith finally signs Bears contract|
|Packers QB Rodgers doesn´t regret criticising team-mates|
|49ers to sign veteran RB Alfred Morris, Kyle Shanahan says|
|Dolphins´ Kenny Stills calls out NFL for ´blackballing´ Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid|
|Redskins rookie Guice out for season with torn ACL|
|Colts´ Luck on long-awaited return: ´I was nervous´|
|NFL players protest during anthem, Kaepernick tweets support|
|Dez Bryant tells Browns: I´m coming to visit the Land!|
|WATCH: Odell Beckham Jr. turns heads with one-handed catch|
|Rams GM: Aaron Donald in ´same zip code´ as team with contract talks|
|49ers to honour Clark with statues depicting ´The Catch´|
|Aaron Rodgers upset at ´p*** poor´ effort during practice session|
|Ex-Panthers receiver Smith reveals battle with depression|
|Rivers: I don’t have a number in my head for retirement|
|Cardinals lose Shipley to season-ending injury|
|Falcons sign safety Allen to three-year extension|
|Landry: Beckham Jr. would play for Browns|
|Panthers TE Olsen backs Newton after Benjamin comments|
|Browns send former first-round pick Coleman to Bills|
|Pederson & Roseman sign Eagles extensions|
|49ers CB Sherman to miss preseason opener|
|Eagles re-sign safety Graham to one-year deal|
|Giants´ Odell Beckham Jr confident contract will ´work itself out´|
|Kelvin Benjamin rips Cam Newton and Panthers|
|Former NFL fullback Lasike signs for Harlequins|
|Patriots bake huge cake for Tom Brady’s 41st birthday|
|Jackson hoped for more from disappointing Ravens debut|
|Seahawks´ Thomas ´standing strong´ on contract holdout|
|Former NFL star Merriman signs deal with World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation|
|Packers have ´no updates´ on Rodgers extension|
|Jets sign rookie QB Darnold|
|Donald deserves more than what I got, says Suh|
|Luck´s arm ´responding well´ in Colts practice|
|Brady cuts news conference short after Guerrero-Edelman PED questions|
|Falcons players encouraged to make their own decisions over anthem|
|Cowboys´ Lee responds to Bryant ´snake´ jibe|
|Cowboys´ Dak Prescott: NFL game not right venue for protest|
|NFLPA ´encouraged´ by talks over anthem policy|
|Chargers CB Verrett suffers season-ending Achilles tear|
|Matthews agrees five-year extension with Falcons|
|Titans´ Lewan becomes highest paid OL in NFL history|
|Unsigned rookie QB Darnold misses Jets´ first practice|
|Trump applauds Cowboys owner´s national anthem stance|
|´My focus is definitely on other places´ – Rodgers on extension talks|
|Giants to negotiate with Beckham Jr ´pretty soon´|
|Jones reaches agreement with Falcons ahead of training camp|
|Quinn and Dimitroff sign Falcons extensions|
|Julio Jones will be a Falcon for life, says team owner Blank|
|Bell reacts as Gurley sets new standard for RB contracts|
|Rams sign Todd Gurley to $60m four-year extension|
|Former Rams linebacker Barwin announces Giants move|
|NFL training camp 2018: Biggest injuries, comebacks to watch|
|NFL training camp 2018: AFC West preview|
|NFL training camp 2018: AFC South preview|
|NFL training camp 2018: AFC North preview|
|NFL training camp 2018: AFC East preview|
|NFL training camp 2018: NFC West preview|
|NFL training camp 2018: NFC South preview|