During Marcus Trufant’s retirement news conference, the cornerback who played not only his entire NFL career with the Seahawks but his entire football career in the state of Washington touched on the day that career moved to Seattle.
Most teams fly in their first-round picks after selecting them. Trufant, who grew up in Tacoma and played at Washington State University, was able to drive from Tacoma to the Seahawks’ headquarters – which was then in Kirkland.
“A lot of people don’t even remember the press conference. I don’t remember the press conference,” Trufant said last Thursday, when he was flanked in the auditorium at Virginia Mason Athletic Center by his parents – Lloyd and Constance; his wife, Jessica; and his brothers, Isaiah and Desmond.
“But everybody remembers my dad’s suit.”
“He had on a gold suit and the matching gold hat,” Marcus Trufant said. “And he called it ‘The Golden Opportunity’ suit. Right? Yeah, ‘The Golden Opportunity.’ So that is one thing that I will always remember, and I know he’ll always remember and my mom will always remember. And they won’t let me forget it.”
Unforgettable is what that suit was, definitely. The others who also were there – or have just seen the photo – remember it vividly, too.
But there’s also a story that goes with what turned out to be a “Golden Opportunity” for the Trufant’s oldest son and the hometown team that made him the 11th pick overall in the 2003 NFL Draft. And it contains an assist from Mike Tice, the Seahawks’ tight end while Trufant was growing up in Tacoma who then was coach of the Minnesota Vikings.
While the Vikings were trying to regroup, the Jacksonville Jaguars (quarterback Byron Leftwich at No. 7), Carolina Panthers (tackle Jordan Gross at No. 8) got their picks to the podium. Before the dust had settled completely, the Ravens and Seahawks also saw premier players fall to them at No. 10 (linebacker Terrell Suggs) and No. 11 (Trufant) because of the maneuvering above them. The Ravens had been looking to trade up to select Leftwich, while the St. Louis Rams also had designs on Trufant but were unable to trade into a spot ahead of the Seahawks.
“Late in the 15-minute period, we got a call from Minnesota,” Ozzie Newsome, then Ravens senior vice president of football operations, said at the time. “They had us and Jacksonville on the phone at the same time, playing one against the other. The time elapsed while we were on the phone.”
But Tice admitted at the time, “I’m pissed. There is no other way I can put it.”
The Seahawks and the Trufant family? They were delighted.
Mike Holmgren, in his fifth season as the Seahawks’ coach, greeted the flurry of activity that led to Trufant being available to the Seahawks with a look-what-we-found grin.
Trufant? Well, as he said last Thursday, “Draft day, I remember it like it was yesterday.”
His extended family and friends – many of whom were at VMAC last Thursday – were having a Draft Day party at a restaurant in Tacoma on the April day in 2003.
“A few picks later I get a call from coach Holmgren and he just said, ‘Are you ready to be a Seattle Seahawk?’ I didn’t really know what to say, so I just said, ‘Yes.’ ”
Eleven years later, it was time for Marcus to just say “Thanks,” for the “Golden Opportunity” that his selection was for the team and the Trufants.