You think 20 reps on the bench press with a prosthetic arm stole the show Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis? UCF alumnus Shaquem Griffin one-upped himself Sunday by running a blazing 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds that turned the world of NFL media on its ear.
Griffin’s time — identical to that of his identical twin brother Shaquill at last year’s Combine — was the fastest by a linebacker since the NFL started recording 40-yard dash times in 2003. According to Warren Sharp of Sharp Football Analysis, Griffin is the first defensive player to weigh more than 225 and run a sub 4.4-second 40-yard dash.
Griffin said a little brotherly challenge may have been the needed fuel to push him to his record-breaking time.
“My brother was telling me the whole time, ‘I don’t think you can run 4.3. You put on weight. I’m giving you a 4.4. That would be good for you,'” he told ESPN afterward.
“I said ‘So, you’re telling me what I can’t do, huh?’ It was only right that I prove him wrong and that’s what I did. He called me…after I got done with the 40 and he was like ‘You did it. I’m proud of you.’ I didn’t know my time at first and he was like ‘You just made history. You’re the fastest linebacker to ever do it since the Combine started.'”
After his performance with the 40-yard dash and earlier with his bench pressing on Saturday, Griffin may have emerged as one of the biggest stars of the Combine.
Griffin’s own goal was to press the 225-pound weight six times. His personal best in training sessions in Texas leading up to the Combine was 11. With the crowd in attendance cheering him on and adrenaline coursing through him, Griffin busted out 20 reps with a prosthesis on his left arm.
“It was amazing,” Griffin said. “Hearing the crowd, having the juices flowing, I felt it…I didn’t even know I had it in me, but it came out today.”
Griffin’s mark in the bench press was tied for 11th among the 25 linebackers who participated. Then, the ever-inspirational Griffin stepped up to the microphone.
“People are going to have doubt over the things I can do and obviously it started at the bench press. Some people didn’t think I could do three or five, some people didn’t think I could do the bench press,” Griffin said. “I went and did the bench press and competed with everybody else and did 20. That’s just one step closer toward everything I need to accomplish. There’s going to be a lot more doubters saying what I can’t do and I think I’m ready to prove them wrong.”
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“I came here and remembered what my brother told me last year: ‘What you put in is what you get out of it.’ One thing I can say is I’m not going to look back and say I didn’t put in enough. I’m putting everything I’ve got into it,” he said. “I started off good and now I’m trying to finish strong.”