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Tru-ly blessed

Posted Aug 17, 2012

When it was time for the readers of Seahawks.com to vote for the franchise’s 35th Anniversary team, they went local – and logical – with one of the cornerback spot in selecting Marcus Trufant.

Marcus Trufant is blessed.

From his days as a kid growing up in Tacoma and rooting for the Seahawks, to all the seasons he has been a cornerstone player for the franchise, to his ever-expanding family, it’s impossible to get too far into his story without Trufant reminding you just how blessed his life has been – and is.

“To be the local kid, and to be playing in the NFL for Seahawks, it’s a big deal,” Trufant said recently, sitting in front of his cubicle in the locker room at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. “I just feel blessed.

BLUE AND GREEN DREAM TEAM

The Seahawks’ 35th Anniversary team, as selected by the readers of Seahawks.com:

Offense
WR Steve Largent
LT Walter Jones
LG Steve Hutchinson
C Robbie Tobeck
RG Bryan Millard
RT Howard Ballard
TE John Carlson
WR Bobby Engram
WR Brian Blades
QB Matt Hasselbeck
RB Shaun Alexander
FB Mack Strong

Defense
DE Jacob Green
DT Joe Nash
DT Cortez Kennedy
DE Michael Sinclair
OLB Chad Brown
MLB Lofa Tatupu
ILB Fredd Young
OLB Rufus Porter
CB Marcus Trufant
CB Dave Brown
NB Shawn Springs
SS Kenny Easley
FS Eugene Robinson

Special Teams
K Norm Johnson
P Rick Tuten
KOR Steve Broussard
PR Nate Burleson

But the term “blessed” also describes the fortunes of his hometown NFL team since the Seahawks selected the cornerback from Washington State University with the 11th pick overall in the 2003 NFL Draft. Trufant stepped in immediately as a starter, and started 94 of a possible 96 games in his first six seasons. His 21 career interceptions rank fifth on the franchise’s all-time list. In 2007, he became the third cornerback in club history to be voted to the Pro Bowl – joining the late Dave Brown and Shawn Springs. In 2004, Trufant became the only cornerback to ever lead the club in tackles, and just the fourth corner in NFL history to do it.

Not surprisingly, when the readers of Seahawks.com were asked to vote for the 35th Anniversary team, Trufant finished second in the balloting with 1,767 votes – just behind Brown (2,182) and well ahead of Springs (969), the nickel back on the reader-selected team.

In fact, the phone conversation to do Springs’ 35th Anniversary story started like this: “Nickel back? That’s the best you could do for me?” he asked.

Informed that the readers had voted for the team, Springs asked, “So who are the starting corners?”

Told they were Brown and Trufant, you could hear the smile in Springs’ voice as he offered, “Well that’s OK then. Dave Brown, he always was the man. And Tru, he’s my guy. So I can play as the nickel with them, and nobody would get anything easy on us.”

Trufant also feels honored to be recognized by the fans in such a prestigious way.

“It means a lot,” he said. “It means the world to be voted in by the fans – the people who watch the games; the people who love us and support us. So it’s real big deal. It’s an honor. I’d really like to thank the fans for voting me in.”

In his 10th season, Trufant is the longest-tenured Seahawk on a roster that has been in constant turnover since coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider were hired in 2010. In fact, Trufant was released in March and then re-signed in April. He’s even getting used to a new role – as the nickel back, because Richard Sherman remains the starter on the left side after played so well as a rookie last season when he stepped in for an injured Trufant.

“The role and just kind of knowing where I’m at, everything is a little different,” Trufant said. “But at the end of the day, it is training camp so you’ve got to put in the hard work, and you’ve got to compete and you’ve got to earn your spot.

“That’s what it’s about. You’ve got to come in with a focused mindset, and you’ve got to have the mindset that you’ve got to come to work. It’s all about getting better, and it’s always been about getting better for me. That’s how I’ve been every year of my career.”

Trufant has played his entire football career in the state of Washington, and was inducted in the Pacific Northwest Football Hall of Fame this spring.

It helps to have played with or against Trufant to truly appreciate with he brings to a defense and a team.

“Tru’s got great feet,” said Bobby Engram, the slot receiver on the 35th Anniversary team who now coaches the wide receiver at the University of Pittsburgh. “He plays the ball. He closes. He probably closes better than anyone I ever played with.

“And when he picks it, he’s a former running back, so he will take it to the house on you.”

In fact, it was Marcus Trufant the running back that prompted former WSU coach Bill Doba to make a trip to Stadium High School during Trufant’s career at Wilson High School.

“The guy Marcus was covering broke deep, he backpedaled and snapped those hips open and I went, ‘Whoa, there’s the corner we’ve been looking for,’ ” Doba told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer during Trufant rookie training camp with the Seahawks. “So we started recruiting him as a corner and offered him a scholarship right away.”

That same summer, former Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren labeled Trufant’s hip turn, “The best I’ve ever seen.”

But Trufant’s bushel of blessings extend beyond the football field – and have since his early years in Tacoma, where he attended McCarver Elementary School and Truman Middle School before becoming an all-state cornerback and running back at Wilson High.

It starts with his family – his mother, Constance, who runs the Trufant Family Foundation; and father, Lloyd, a jazz musician and likely the coolest of all the father figures attached to the players in the locker room. He also has two younger brothers – Isaiah, who is with New York Jets; and Desmond, who is a starting corner for the University of Washington.

Trufant and his wife, Jessica, now have their own family – daughters, Karmyn, Kimora and Kennedi.

“I don’t really think it will sink in probably until I’m done playing,” said Trufant, whose resume also includes playing in the only Super Bowl in franchise history. “Right now, I’m on the move – I’m practicing, training, trying to get better.

“I’ve still got football to play. But afterwards, I’ll really be able to enjoy everything that has happened and show my kids.”

Asked for his favorite memory during his first nine seasons with the Seahawks, Trufant smiled and said, “It’s yet to come. I’m still looking for that top memory. But it’s been a great ride. I expect it to get even better.” 

Why has Trufant been so blessed? It might have something to do with the fact that he was born on Christmas Day. But it definitely has something to do with the player and person he has grown into.

As Engram put it, “I enjoyed playing with Tru, and he’s a great person off the field, as well. To me, that means just as much.”