Shaquem Griffin’s NFL Combine bench press is winning over critics

Shaquem Griffin didn’t come to the NFL Scouting Combine just to become a version of Billy Graham, spreading the good news about his ability to play football despite the absence of one hand.

He only wanted to show all 32 NFL teams that he has the necessary skills to compete in the league.

But leave it to Griffin, of course, to intertwine purpose and pigskin.

The former UCF linebacker converted another legion of Shaquem believers when he cranked out 20 reps in the bench press Saturday afternoon. His result tied as the 16th-most among all linebackers this year and he even beat some 300 pound-plus offensive linemen.

It was also a personal best for Griffin, who reached a previous high of 11 reps during his training at the Michael Johnson performance center in Texas.

“My goal was six and I think I beat that by a lot,” Griffin joked. “It was amazing. Hearing the crowd, having the juices flowing, I felt it … I didn’t even know I had it in me, but it came out today.”

The cheers poured into the hallways filling up the Indianapolis Convention Center and touching the hearts of reporters, fans and — most important — NFL representatives.