Note: This post was originally published January 26, 2018. With the Seahawks drafting Shaquem Griffin, it becomes a serious matter.
One of the bright lights of the 2017 Seattle Seahawks football season was the emergence of Shaquill Griffin, who was the highest drafted cornerback in the Pete Carroll era and who contributed as a rookie sooner even than Richard Sherman did in 2011. Thanks to a well-known athlete who pronounces his first name the same as Griffin and whose nickname, Shaq, is perhaps even more iconic than that former NBA player’s basketball achievements, fans and teammates soon took to calling Griffin by the affectionately shorter moniker.
There was only one problem, which was how Shaquill Griffin had for most of his life gone by the sobriquet “Quill”, pronounced like “keel”, owing to the fact his twin brother Shaquem Griffin’s name starts with the same four letters. However, that didn’t stop most people from continuing to call Shaquill Shaq throughout his first year in the NFL. Eventually, even Griffin himself had to admit he didn’t mind if you call him Shaq. The rest of the Seahawks did it. Everyone did it. No big deal really.
But with Shaquem Griffin on the verge of joining his brother in the league, we will again have to sort the identical twins by their first names—especially if they end up sharing a defense together in Seattle. Indeed, draft Twitter has already been using the moniker Shaq Griffin as shorthand for the 2018 linebacker prospect.
Dan is right. Shaq Griffin should be invited to the NFL Combine. @LeBatardShow— Todd McShay (@McShay13) January 24, 2018
Shaq Griffin is the only EDGE from yesterday working with the LBs in one on ones. I think that’s for the best.— Chorizo Justo (@JuMosq) January 24, 2018
Alistair Corp detailed why Shaquem Griffin could be a genuine fit for the Seahawks in his post on Senior Bowl linebackers Thursday. I personally suspect the minute-younger Griffin won’t end up reuniting with his twin, mainly because, despite being snubbed from the first round of invites to the NFL Draft Combine and missing one hand after surgery to alleviate amniotic band syndrome he suffered as a child, the second-team All-American and AAC Defensive Player of the Year has been getting rave reviews by draft analysts and will probably go in the second or third round (if not earlier) before Seattle has a chance to nab him. Also, as Corp noted, he’s not as well suited to the Seahawks’ 4-3 scheme unless Ken Norton, Jr., decides to target him as a Bruce Irvin replacement and reintroduce the hybrid pass-rushing SAM they used from 2013-2014.
But if availability and scheme factors do fall into place and bring the brothers together again, or even once Shaquem and Shaqill Griffin both become household names around the league on separate teams, the football world will once more find the original way to distinguish them as individuals and quit calling both of them Shaq, giving the slightly older brother back the Quill with which to write his glorious future.