KAHUKU, Hawaii—When Richard Sherman was a rookie in 2011, an established veteran cornerback with an impressive resume took the fifth-round pick from Stanford under his wing.
Sherman spent the early part of that season behind Marcus Trufant on the depth chart, learning both the position and also about being a professional, and years later he is the veteran who has time for every cornerback newcomer the Seahawks draft or sign. This week, things are coming full circle a bit for Sherman, as one of the young cornerbacks he is working with at the Pro Bowl is none other than Atlanta Falcons star Desmond Trufant, Marcus' little brother and a 2013 first-round pick out of the University of Washington.
"I've known Sherm for a while now, and he's always talking to me, telling me things about the game," Trufant said after Thursday's practice with Team Irvin. "He's been one of the best since he's been in the league, so just to learn from a guy like that and rub shoulders with a lot of great players out here, that's always good. I'm definitely thankful."
This is Desmond Trufant's first Pro Bowl as a player, but he has been here before, coming to support his brother after the 2007 season when Marcus Trufant earned both Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors.
"I just remember it was real cool to see him get to that point in his career," Desmond Trufant said. "All the family was out here, we were probably 30-40 people deep out here. It was real cool. It's just a blessing I can be here too."
And even though he was only in high school at the time, that experience helped the younger Trufant know this day could come for him eventually.
"I knew what my dream was and what I wanted to be, and seeing your brother do it, it made it more achievable to me, because I saw him do it," he said.
For Sherman, this is also a first-time experience. While he was named a first-team All Pro in 2012, he was left off the Pro Bowl squad. Sherman was named to the Pro Bowl team each of the past two seasons, but Seattle was in the Super Bowl, meaning its players had a more important game to prepare for at this time.
"It's fun," Sherman said of his first Pro Bowl. "It's always great to meet everybody, to hang out with guys, to meet everyone's family and just have a good relaxing time playing ball."
Sherman, who spent much of his practice covering Julio Jones and A.J. Green, called the talent on the field, "Unbelievable… It's an all-star game, so you expect to have all-star talent, but my goodness."
And eight years after one Trufant was a Pro Bowler, that "unbelievable" talent now includes Desmond Trufant, who this week is learning from the star corner his older brother once helped mentor.
"It looks right," Sherman said. "It looks right to see a Trufant out here at the Pro Bowl, because that's the kind of caliber of players they are. You expect to see him out here, he's a great player, he plays the game like it's supposed to be played. He's scrappy. I think he was the least-targeted corner in the league this year, and for good reason."
And Sherman can't help but notice similarities between Desmond and Marcus, who don't just look and sound a lot alike, but who also have similar games: "They both play off, they're both incredibly instinctive, they both have great feet, great eyes. They're what you look for in a corner."
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Members from Team Irvin and Team Rice suited up in their respective gameday threads during Pro Bowl week for team photos ahead of Sunday's all-star game in Hawaii.