"The most important is having good juice."
Shaquem Griffin was talking about bringing energy and enthusiasm to the football field, and it doesn't take very long being around him to realize he embodies that motto.
His outgoing personality was in full force Thursday when he met the South Florida media for the first time after the Dolphins ended their training camp practice at Hard Rock Stadium.
Griffin signed with the Dolphins last week after the Seattle Seahawks declined, somewhat surprisingly, to extend a qualifying offer as a restricted free agent in the offseason.
"That’s the most important thing is having good juice, having good energy," Griffin said. "Me being able to be here and bring energy, bring the juice and be happy, it kind of brings a certain light to certain people. A lot of guys can come here and be here for work, but what’s the enjoyment you’re getting from it? It’s like having that fun energy, wanting to be here, wanting to laugh. You’re not doing it right if you’re not having fun.”
Griffin's inspirational story is well known by now, how he became in 2018 the first player taken in the NFL draft after having lost a hand. Griffin got there thanks in part of some impressive athletic ability — he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at the combine — but also because of his attitude.
It was constant throughout his three seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, and his outlook certainly hasn't changed.
"He brings a lot of energy," Brian Flores said Thursday before practice. "You feel his energy within 30 seconds of being around the guy. But he’s got some speed, toughness; he’s smart. (He has) some position flexibility — as you guys know, I like to have that. He’s played on the ball, off the ball linebacker, on the ball with some rush ability. He’s played in the kicking game. ... We love his energy. He definitely has some leadership qualities. I’m excited to have him as part of the team.”
Griffin is all energy, all enthusiasm all the time.
It certainly was there when he described how his joining the Dolphins came about.
“OK, so my agent has been doing all the work," Griffin began. "I didn’t know much about it. I know it came up in convo, but you don’t know how it really is until it happens.
"I’m not going to lie, when I got the phone call, it was like being drafted all over again. I had to put the coach on mute and I started screaming in the house. (laughter) I calmed back down and I had a good conversation with the coach. The opportunity is amazing and I’m just glad they gave me a shot.
"No matter what it is, if it’s just running fast, if it’s just me being a good guy in the locker room, I’m willing to do whatever. If you want me to kick the ball, I will. Snap it? It doesn’t matter. If you want me to throw it – I’m not good at throwing – I’ll do that too.”
Griffin isn't guaranteed to make the Dolphins 53-man roster, though he's got a lot of things going for him and he certainly will be in the mix for one of the linebacker spots.
If he's on the roster come Oct. 17, he'll be looking at the opportunity to play against his twin brother, Shaquill, who went from the Seahawks to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the offseason.
Shaquill started a little bit of trash talking when he talked to the Jacksonville media Wednesday, and Shaquem was quick to respond in style.
First, this is what Shaquill had to say after pointing out this will be the first time the brothers will be facing each other in an organized competition: "I’m already talking trash. I don’t care. I told him make sure you have your passport ready because I need you to make sure you make it. I need no excuse. I told him I might walk up when he’s at warmups and push him down. So yeah, I already started my trash talk and I’m not changing. I can’t wait to see him. It’s going to be different. It’s going to be exciting to see. [It’s] the first time the Griffin twins going against each other, so y’all make sure you blow that story up because it’s on and popping when I see him.”
And here was Shaquem's reply:
“It kind of started before I actually got here. I just didn’t know he was going to do media first, so I guess he got the upper hand. But there is a lot of trash talking going back and forth – before practice, after practice, a little bit before our meetings, during our breaks, lunch break, dinner. We’re going back and forth.
"I guess that’s kind of a little rivalry that me and my brother got. It started when we were kids to see who could eat the most or who could walk the furthest. I guess there’s a new rival going on. I’m loving it. I told him we could get a good arm wrestle on the 50-yard line. He’s scared. It’s ok. Everybody knows he’s scared. I’m kind of the stronger one and the faster one. But don’t tell nobody. We’ll keep it going.”