Shaquem Griffin arrived at the VMAC on the morning of Sept. 5 to take his daily COVID-19 test. Somebody gave him notice that he was wanted in John Schneider’s office. The Seahawks GM then notified Griffin that he was being waived.
“(It was) definitely a surprise,” Griffin told reporters on Wednesday. “I was thinking it was a normal day, and I ended up getting waived. That was an adjustment.”
Griffin spent the weekend soul-searching. He had to sift through the mix of emotions. Surprise was followed by disappointment, uncertainty and, understandably, some bitterness and anger. His twin brother Shaquill was there to help him talk things through.
“Having my brother there was pretty big,” Griffin said. “I can admit to that. We sat down, and we talked for so long about ups and downs, pros and cons as to what was going on with the situation. He calmed me down.”
After working his way through the five stages of grief, Griffin had a clear mind and was ready for the next step in his NFL journey.
“I just had to understand my situation and fight up out of it,” he said. “That was my mindset, to not allow myself to fold.”
For 24 hours, his future was out of his control. That changed once he cleared waivers. Three teams (the Texans were the only one he was aware of) reached out to Griffin and offered a spot on their practice squads. The Seahawks had the same offer on the table.
The decision wasn’t a hard one to make.
“I didn’t see myself going somewhere else and starting over,” Griffin said. “Just because I leave doesn’t mean it’s going to be a better situation for me. Worst come to worst, I’ve always got my brother. When I’ve got him, everything is always good, whether I’m playing ball or not. I wasn’t going to leave or run away because the situation got hard and the situation isn’t going my way.”
Instead, Griffin took a more pragmatic approach. He had to face the fact that he was cut for a reason. One reason, he surmised, was a lack of mastery of Seattle’s defensive scheme. His heralded speed only matters if he knows which direction he’s supposed to go.
Griffin believes he’s since gotten to that required comfort level within the Seahawks defense. He studied the nuances of his positions as a linebacker and an edge rusher.
“If I want the situation to go my way, what can I adjust, what do I need to do to better myself? Stay in your playbook. Stay on top of everything. Know so much that you move faster than ever. Doing so kind of put me ahead.”
The early returns of his hard work have been promising. Griffin was flexed up from the practice squad in order to be active against the Cowboys in Week 3. After spending most of the game on the sideline, injuries to Jordyn Brooks and others thrust him into the lineup on defense. Griffin had a quarterback hit, a tackle for loss against Ezekiel Elliott (which was wiped out by a Dallas penalty) and a pass breakup in the left flat against Cedrick Wilson.
Although he’s back on the practice squad for the time being, Pete Carroll told reporters that Griffin would be active again on Sunday against the Dolphins because “he earned it.” He’ll be a player to watch in Week 4 in order to see if he’s able to make a similar impact.
Griffin is confident he’ll be able to.
“Now that I know what’s going on, there’s no reason why I couldn’t move fast,” he said. “Now it’s just full-go, full-blast, 100% effort, taking your shot when you get it and take full advantage of your opportunities.”