MARCUS TRUFANT, CIRCA 2002
REMEMBER HOW cool it was when Marcus Trufant was chosen 11th overall by the Seahawks in the 2003 NFL draft?
Coug fans typically root for the Seahawks, too, which meant they could continue to follow Trufant in Seattle just like they did in Pullman.
Trufant can’t believe how fast the time has passed. Get this – the standout cornerback is 31 now, which makes him the oldest player on the team.
I caught up with Trufant last week in the Seahawks’ locker room. He looks great and says he feels great.
“Things are a little different,” he said. “I’m married with kids and most of the guys are single. But on the field and in the locker room, I still feel right in the mix. It’s still as fun as it’s always been.
“It’s a great group of guys. I get the ‘old’ jokes. They tell me they were born when I graduated from high school.”
AFTER STARRING AT Wilson High, Trufant went on to a terrific career at Washington State, recording 11 interceptions and not allowing a touchdown reception in his last two years.
With the Seahawks, he was an instant starter who became a Pro Bowler in 2007 during his finest NFL season. In ’07, Trufant had three interceptions in a game against Arizona, one of which he turned into an 84-yard touchdown return.
In the 2007 playoffs, he helped the Seahawks beat the Redskins in the wild-card round with a 78-yard interception return.
A back injury prevented Trufant from becoming a perennial Pro Bowler. Last year he was replaced at left cornerback by Richard Sherman, who is younger, faster and taller.
At the end of the 2011 season, it appeared that Trufant’s time with the Seahawks was over. As a free agent, he was courted by the Broncos and took a trip to Denver.
“But the Seahawks came back into play,” said Trufant, who wanted to stay.
He was told that he’d be competing for a third cornerback spot, which was fine with him.
“It’s a new role, and there’s a learning curve, but I’m still a DB,” he said. “I’m making good progress. In my mind, I’m always trying to get better. I’m never satisfied. You’ve always got to make the best out of things. I want to help out the team any way I can.”
IT'S BEEN AN adjustment. He’s used to starting. He’s adapting to life as a nickel back. Trufant’s time on the field is more limited now. He has played in all three games and registered six tackles.
But he’s still a part of one of the best defenses in the NFL. It’s a group that’s blossoming – as evidenced by the eight first-half sacks of Aaron Rodgers last Monday.
The Seahawks are allowing a league-low 13 points a game, and it’s gratifying to Trufant to be involved as a mentor and part-time player.
“I’m not exactly what I was the first day I joined the Seahawks, but I feel like I still move pretty well,” he said. “Playing on the inside is a little better for me. It’s not as hard on the body. I’m just trying to play for as long as my body will let me do it.”
When he looks back, Trufant does not regret anything. He doesn’t play the what-if game by mentioning his back injury. He’s grateful and thankful that he can raise his three daughters, who are 7, 4 and 2, where he grew up.
“I have no complaints,” he said. “Not many people get to play their whole career in their home town and home state. I’m blessed.”
More of the Go 2 Guy’s writings can be seen on his website, jimmoorethego2guy.com, seattlepi.com, kitsapsun.com and 710Sports.com. You can reach him at email@example.com and to follow him on Twitter, point your browser to @cougsgo. Moore appears weekday afternoons from 3 to 6 on on 710 ESPN Seattle or 710Sports.com.