RENTON, Wash. – Shaquill Griffin is that rare NFL player who will, in the course of one sentence, admit to sobbing on two separate occasions.
But the second-year cornerback is more than happy to tell and retell the stories of the emotional days he and his twin brother were drafted by the Seattle Seahawks. Shaquill, of course, lived his dream went he to the Seahawks in the third round of the 2017 draft. But the moment his brother, Shaquem, joined him in the fifth round this April somehow managed to top that.
“That’s definitely No. 1 on my chart now,” Griffin said during an exclusive interview with the official home of the Seahawks, Q13 FOX. “I know I cried way more than I did on my own draft day. It was such an emotional moment for my whole family just to see me and my brother reunite. It was crazy. I’m glad that was part of the experience.
“The way it worked out, the way it happened, it was perfect. I know he wouldn’t change it, and I wouldn’t either.”
The Seahawks’ decision to pick Shaquem made all kinds of headlines: Not only did it put the twins on the same defense, it made an instant star out of the hard-hitting linebacker with one hand.
“I wasn’t nervous that he wasn’t going to get drafted – I just knew that he was going to go somewhere,” Shaquill said. “I was just hoping that it’d be Seattle. I was more nervous about another team picking him up before us, but I had no doubt in my mind that someone was going to give him and opportunity, and I’m glad it was us.”
As soon as the elation of the moment passed, Shaquill came to a realization: His days of having the house to himself were going to be very brief.
“The first day he got here, he came and dropped his bags at my house and kept moving,” Shaquill said. “He wasn’t taking no chances. He made it clear that he was gonna move in with me and he didn’t waste any time doing so.
“ … there’s more than enough space. I had a two-bedroom, more than enough for me. He was like ‘well, we’ll just do it like we’re back in college.’ He’s enjoying it more than I am … no, I’m glad to have him. There’s definitely no issue, we’ve been together for so long. We’re not gonna miss a beat.”
Shaquill is preparing for what could be a pivotal season in his career. He said he’ll be taking over at left cornerback in the wake of Richard Sherman’s departure – “I know Sherm’ll be happy for me to be on that side,” he said – and thinks his brother will quickly earn his own place on the defense.
“I know he’s gonna work hard, and he’s gonna push everybody around him,” Shaquill said. “I think he’ll end up pushing me, ‘cause after I make plays, he’s going to want to make plays. We’ll bring that atmosphere back of trying to beat each other out – everything’s a competition. And just what he brings to the table – high energy, you can tell he loves the game.
“We’re both passionate about it. His presence alone is great for everybody.”
Shaqill is mindful of the Seahawks’ defensive legacy – “We’re still gonna be called the Legion of Boom, it’s just time for the young guys to step up and replace the originals,” he said – and said he plans to be part of its next iteration as the team retools following the losses of Sherman, Michael Bennett, Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril.
“The guys before us, they didn’t just leave everything behind,” Griffin said. “They left a legacy. They taught us so much – that’s the point of being around great guys. They don’t just do things for themselves; they pull people along with them. We’ve got some great guys – including myself – that’s willing to step in. We want to bring this team back to where it used to be, and we’re working so hard to do so. We’re just getting to the point where we’ve got to believe in ourselves first. The way we’ve been practicing and hitting the ground running, everybody has a ton of faith in what we can do. That makes me so excited to see these guys on the team work so hard, push each other and bring each other along.
“I know for a fact we’re gonna bring this team back where it used to be. Like I said, they left a legacy behind with them and we’ve got some great guys that’s gonna step up and prove a lot of doubters (wrong).”
They might be in the rarefied air of being among the very few sets of brothers to play on the same NFL team, but at the end of the day, brothers is exactly what they are.
You can tell because Shaquill jumped at the chance to tattle on Shaquem.
“Shaquem Griffin is scared of the dark,” Shaquill said. “He will contest that, saying no, but I know he still is. I think he’s got a nightlight in his room – if you go in his room, he’s got like a little nightlight that goes around his bed. So, he turns that on at night. I think he’s still scared.”