“Don’t worry about too much, just run fast, run to the ball and hit hard,” Griffin said. “That’s what they’ve been preaching to me all week, and that’s what I did.”
Griffin did as much running and hitting as anyone Thursday night in Seattle’s preseason opener, a 19-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at CenturyLink Field. His game-high nine tackles included six solo stops and one for loss.
It was an impressive debut performance for Griffin, who in April became the first player with one hand to be drafted during the league’s modern era when Seattle chose him in the fifth round, reuniting him with his twin brother Shaquill in the process.
“I am really fired up about it,” coach Pete Carroll said of Griffin’s night. “This is what he looks like in practice. He’s running around. He’s really fast. By understanding the scheme, he’s utilizing his opportunities to be on the attack. He’s a weapon in that regard. We have to see how accurate he was, if he was right if he was guessing a little bit, and how he hit it. We’re really fired up. He was involved in nine or 10 tackles in his first time out. That’s pretty good. He played quite a bit. He played a lot in the middle portion of this game, so we’ll get some really good looks.”
Shaquem and Shaquill didn’t play on defense together Thursday as Shaquill, Seattle’s starting right cornerback, played only one series along with most of the team’s No. 1 defense. Shaquem entered on the Colts’ second possession and made four consecutive tackles.
“It felt good to kind of get out there and get your feet wet and kind of get some hits in,” Shaquem said. “I know [with] the way the league works you don’t really get a chance to really tackle much. So to kind of get out there and get a few tackles in and hit people as hard as you can kind of felt good to hit other people today.”
The Seahawks have Shaquem Griffin at weakside linebacker, where he’s playing behind one-time Pro Bowler K.J. Wright and trying to earn a part-time role on defense in addition to playing on special teams. Griffin has gotten some run with the starters in practice of late with Wright nursing an injury.
Griffin’s left hand was amputated at age 4 because of a congenital birth defect called amniotic band syndrome. He was asked postgame if he allowed himself to think at any point Thursday about how far he has come.
“Nah, man. I just played football,” he said. “Me just being here, it’s amazing and it’s a blessing for me to be here. I give all thanks to God. But I’m just here to play football.”