The Atlanta Falcons have spent this week practicing more than 2,000 miles away from their Flowery Branch, Georgia headquarters, but for cornerback Desmond Trufant, this week has had a familiar feel to it.
With the Falcons practicing at the University of Washington this week—they elected to fly from Denver, where they played last week, to Seattle rather than return home—Trufant is preparing for this week's game against the Seahawks in the same stadium he called home during a standout career with the Huskies.
"It's always good to come home," Trufant told reporters this week.
And Trufant, who attended Wilson High in Tacoma, isn't just returning home to play in front of friends and family, he'll also be facing the team his older brother Marcus played for during his entire 10-year career. Just like his older brother did with the Seahawks, Desmond Trufant has developed into one of the league's top cornerbacks, earning Pro Bowl honors last year, and he returns home this week playing for one of the league's top teams.
"I've definitely had some success," Trufant said. "… We're on a roll right now, so it's good to be here. We're playing a great team, so there's no better moment to go compete with this team."
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll coached Marcus Trufant for the final three seasons of his career, and sees a lot of similarities in the two, who were both first-round picks.
"The whole family can play football, I think pops can play football, too," Carroll said. "They just have a knack. Really quick, really savvy, aggressive, really fast. I'd like to see that family race, too. Not now, Marcus might lose a little bit now, but it's a really speedy family. They know how to play the game. (Desmond) is a really good player."
One Seahawks player who knows Desmond Trufant particularly well is cornerback Richard Sherman, who remembers having Marcus Trufant bring his younger brother around when he played for the Seahawks. Sherman and Desmond Trufant were also Pro-Bowl teammates last February.
"He's a great player," Desmond Trufant said. "I've been watching him for a while—he played a couple of years with my brother—so I've seen him grow into the super star that he is. He's one of the best doing it, he's been doing it for a while."
And that admiration is mutual, with Sherman watching with pride from afar as Trufant has blossomed into a Pro-Bowl corner.
"He's playing fantastic football," Sherman said. "He's tackling well, he's anticipating well, he's playing the ball better than he has in years."
Sherman notes that when the two hung out at Sherman's celebrity softball game following Trufant's rookie season, he talked to Trufant about going for interceptions rather than just breaking up passes.
"When he was younger he would go for PBUs," Sherman said. "… If you catch them, they like you even more. You can end games, you can change games that way."
The Seahawks hope to keep Trufant from making any game-changing plays on Sunday, but regardless of how things play out, this will be a special week for Trufant.
"For a Tacoma guy to come back up and get a chance to play, certainly it's important to him," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said on a conference call with Seattle-area media. "He's got so much family and friends in the area that it's a unique opportunity… This is his first chance to do that, and I know he's excited for that challenge."
Despite a downpour, the Seahawks held practice outside on Thursday as the team prepares for the Atlanta Falcons.