This was Shaquem Griffin’s last chance to prove he’s more than just a feel-good story.
But instead of being able to show the Seahawks why they should keep him around, Griffin instead was forced to the sidelines in the third quarter of the Seahawks’ final preseason game against the Oakland Raiders Thursday when he aggravated the bruised knee that kept him out of the past two games, too.
It’s an injury that severely clouded his chances of making the Seahawks’ 53-man roster.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after the game that Griffin will have another MRI and left open the idea the injury could sideline him for a while.
Saturday is the day the Seahawks have to cut their roster to 53 players. Could Griffin end up on injured reserve? He has played in just one other preseason game this year and knew he had to show well in Thursday’s game to convince the Seahawks to keep him on the roster.
“My whole thing was, I just got back and usually I’m the guy that’s going to make a tackle on special teams, so I didn’t want to come back and not do that,” Griffin said. “My whole focus was if I got an opportunity, I got to shoot my shot and make sure I make it.”
On Thursday, the second-year linebacker played solely on special teams.
His “shot” came on a tackle during punt coverage in the first half when he raced downfield to make a tackle on a 64-yard boot from Michael Dickson.
“As soon as I seen him slow his speed down, that was my shot,” Griffin said. “I couldn’t miss it. I only had one opportunity to get it done, and I did it.”
But soon, the knee flared up and Griffin was forced to watch the second half from the sidelines, with no chance to make one final statement to the coaches.
Coach Pete Carroll had said Wednesday that the plan was for Griffin to play substantially on defense, and specifically at strongside linebacker, a position the team has moved him to this season to try to make better use of his speed.
But the knee injury, suffered in the opener against Denver and which caused him to miss trips to Minnesota and Los Angeles the last two weeks, again got in the way.
“We wanted him to play linebacker but he didn’t feel well enough to do that,” Carroll said, adding that the injury “has persisted some. We’re going to get him checked out again, tested again, MRI him again, just to make sure we know what’s going on. It’s been a little bit different than a normal knee injury. He got hit on it. We thought bruised early on but it just hasn’t gotten well fast enough for us.”
The injury came after a start to the preseason that could hardly have been better — he forced a fumble on the opening kickoff of the first game against Denver.
Griffin said his knee wasn’t bothering him this week.
“I’m the person that could push it, like ‘No, I’m good. I can do this. I can do that,’” he said. “They didn’t want to put too much pressure on it. They wanted to see that I was still OK.”