RENTON – Two years ago, Isaiah Trufant toiled in the fledgling United Football League, looking for one last shot to make it in the NFL.
Fast-forward to this week and Trufant has impressively accomplished that goal, working on a second season as a defensive back for the New York Jets.
And he’ll see a familiar face on the other sideline Sunday, playing against his older brother Marcus and the Seattle Seahawks for the first time in his hometown stadium, CenturyLink Field.
“It means a lot, man,” Marcus Trufant said about seeing his younger brother in the league. “He’s put in a lot of time to make it up to this level. He took the long road. He’s played in the UFL. He’s played in Arena League. … He’s a hard worker.
“So, I’m definitely proud. And it’s a big day to be able to play on the same field with him.”
Isaiah Trufant has been to CenturyLink Field (formerly Seahawks Stadium) several times over the course of Marcus Trufant’s 10-year career with Seattle to watch his older brother play. But now he gets a chance to show family and friends what he can do on the same field.
At 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds, Isaiah Trufant proved he’s big enough to have an impact in the league. Trufant, 29, has 15 tackles on the year, serving as the Jets’ fifth defensive back in passing situations.
Trufant also has four tackles on special teams.
The Eastern Washington University product had his best game as a pro three weeks ago against New England against one of the best receivers in the league – cat-quick Wes Welker.
Trufant helped limit the All-Pro receiver to six catches for 66 yards in a 29-26 overtime loss to the Patriots. Welker had put together four consecutive 100-yard receiving performances before the contest against the Jets on Oct. 21.
After earning defensive player of the year honors with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League, Trufant was added to the Jets’ practice squad in December 2010, and later was elevated to the team’s active roster.
He was released by the Jets the following month and went to training camp with Philadelphia in 2011. But after the Eagles cut him during final roster cuts, the Jets picked him up in September 2011, and he’s been with the team ever since.
“It’s definitely exciting,” Trufant said about his return to Seattle. “It’s good to come back home to be able to play in front of people I grew up with and that follow me.
“At the end of the day football is football. The UFL opened the window to help give me the opportunity to play in the NFL. But now that I’m here, it’s all about business and trying to make a name for myself. I’m very appreciative of the staff and the coaches here for giving me an opportunity.”
It will be a family affair for Lloyd and Constance Trufant this weekend. Not only will they get to see their sons Marcus and Isaiah play against each other on Sunday, but youngest son Desmond, a senior cornerback for the University of Washington, will play at CenturyLink Field on Saturday night, as the Huskies host Utah in a Pac-12 tilt.
Isaiah Trufant said he plans to make the Washington game if his schedule permits.
Lloyd Trufant said he had a jersey specifically made for the game, with a Marcus Trufant Seahawks jersey on the front and an Isaiah Trufant Jets jersey on the back.
“We’re pretty pumped up about it,” Lloyd Trufant said. “It should be pretty cool to see both of them on opposing teams. … I have all three of my boys at the same stadium on the same weekend, so that should be cool.”
The Trufants also will host Marcus Trufant’s annual fundraising event at Acme Bowl in Tukwila on Monday.
“We’re booked solid,” joked Lloyd Trufant about the eventful weekend.
Seahawks’ opponent this week
NEW YORK JETS (3-5)
1:05 p.m. Sunday, CenturyLink Field
Against the Seahawks: This is the 18th meeting between the two teams. Seattle holds a 9-8 edge in the all-time series, including a win in the last meeting, a 13-3 victory on Dec. 12, 2008, in Mike Holmgren’s final game at CenturyLink Field. Before that win, Seattle had lost eight of the last nine against the Jets.
Stats and stuff: In his fourth season, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is tied for 17th in the NFL in touchdowns (10), 25th in passing yards (1,736) and 31st in passer rating (72.8). Sanchez has completed just 52.9 percent of his passes and has thrown eight interceptions, but Jets head coach Rex Ryan remains steadfast that the team will not switch to Tim Tebow as the team’s starting quarterback. … Jets running back Shonn Greene is 20th in the league in rushing, with 509 yards on 139 carries for a 3.7 per-carry average. Greene also has five rushing touchdowns on the year. … New York’s defense is allowing an average of 141.5 rushing yards a contest (29th in the league) and only has 12 sacks on the season (29th). … The Jets’ best defensive player, cornerback Darrelle Revis (knee), and best offensive player, receiver Santonio Holmes (foot), are out for the season. … Marv Albert will serve as the play-by-play man, and former NFL quarterback Rich Gannon will work as the analyst on the CBS broadcast of the game.
Quotable: “We will be doing some different things. Again, I don’t want to get into the specifics of it. I hope you understand that if there’s an advantage to be gained, I want to gain that advantage without letting our opponent know. We’ll be looking at a lot. There are several things to improve, and I’m excited about trying to implement some of these things.”
– New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan, commenting on the implementation of suggestions made by his coaching staff during the bye week to improve the team’s performance.
Sept. 9Jets 48, Bills 28Nov. 11at Seattle
Sept. 16Steelers 27, Jets 10Nov. 18at St. Louis
Sept. 23Jets 23, Dolphins 20, OTNov. 22New England
Sept. 30Niners 34, Jets 0Dec. 2Arizona
Oct. 8Texans 23, Jets 17Dec. 9at Jacksonville
Oct. 14Jets 35, Colts 9Dec. 17at Tennessee
Oct. 21Patriots 29, Jets 26, OTDec. 23San Diego
Oct. 28Dolphins 30, Jets 9Dec. 30at Buffalo
Nov. 4ByeEric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 eric.williams@ thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @eric_d_williams firstname.lastname@example.org