Pioneering Seahawks LB Griffin to start in Week 1

To outside observers, Seattle Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin has one hand.

But to Griffin, what matters most is that he has one goal -- to realize his dream of playing in the NFL.

In a few days, Griffin's dream will become a reality. And the fifth-round pick will not only play, but he will start at linebacker, coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday.

Seattle opens the season against the Denver Broncos on Sunday afternoon. Griffin will start in Denver in place of veteran K.J. Wright, who is recovering from knee surgery. Twin brother Shaquill Griffin is slated to start at cornerback.

SEE ALSO: Tom Brady restates goal of playing until age 45

Seahawks defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said the rookie linebacker was a quick learner and ready for his first taste of the regular season. Griffin, who is the first one-handed player to be drafted in the NFL's modern era, led the team with 24 tackles during the preseason.

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Shaquem Griffin's college football career
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Shaquem Griffin's college football career
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01: UCF Knights linebacker Shaquem Griffin (18) leaves the field for halftime of the Peach Bowl between the UCF Knights and the Auburn Tigers. UCF defeated Auburn by the score off 34-27 at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01: Auburn Tigers quarterback Jarrett Stidham (8) is sacked by UCF Knights linebacker Shaquem Griffin (18) during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl football game of the UCF Knights v Auburn Tigers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01: Shaquem Griffin #18 of the UCF Knights celebrates after sacking Jarrett Stidham #8 of the Auburn Tigers (not pictured) in the third quarter during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 1, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01: Shaquem Griffin #18 of the UCF Knights holds the trophy after defeating the Auburn Tigers 34-27 to win the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 1, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
UCF player Shaquem Griffin revovers a fumble during the American Athletic Conference Championship Game of UCF versus Memphis at Spectrum Stadium Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 in Orlando. UCF beat Memphis 62-55. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 01: Shaquem Griffin #18 of the UCF Knights gestures in the first half against the Auburn Tigers during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 1, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 11: Shaquem Griffin #18 of the UCF Knights screams during warmup prior to a NCAA football game between the University of Connecticut Huskies and the UCF Knights on November 11, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)
UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin (18) celebrates after returning a fumble 20 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter against Austin Peay at Spectrum Stadium in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017. UCF won, 73-33. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 07: Hayden Moore #8 of the Cincinnati Bearcats throws a pass under pressure from Shaquem Griffin #18 of the UCF Knights during the first half at Nippert Stadium on October 7, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 26: Quarterback Quinton Flowers #9 of the South Florida Bulls breaks free from linebacker Shaquem Griffin #18 of the UCF Knights during the third quarter at Raymond James Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Jason Behnken / Getty Images)
UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin celebrates on the sidelines after a turnover against Cincinnati at Bright House Networks Stadium in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. UCF won, 24-3. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 12: Shaquem Griffin #18 of the UCF Knights is seen during a NCAA football game against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Bright House Networks Stadium on November 12, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)
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"He's been surrounded by some really good players, Bobby (Wagner) and K.J. and (Barkevious) Mingo, guys that have been in the league for a while," Norton Jr. told reporters. "So he's kind of taken a backseat and really learned at a rookie's pace, and now that he's been able to play a little bit in the preseason, he sees the game speeds up a little bit.

"But he's been amazing. It's been fun to coach him. It's been fun to watch his growth. The questions that he's asked over the days and weeks have been improving and getting better. It's just amazing to watch his development. As coaches, watching young players develop, that's what it's all about. So watching him grow and develop and run and hit and do the things that we expected him to do when we drafted him, it's really good to see."

--Field Level Media

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