There’s a good chance you’ve heard the name Trufant sometime during the NFL season for the last ten years. First it was Marcus Trufant playing for the Seattle Seahawks, and then Isaiah Trufant joined Marcus in the league when he signed with the New York Jets three seasons ago. Now, it’s time for a third Trufant to explode on the NFL scene.
Desmond Trufant spent the last four years as a star defensive back at the University of Washington. He’s since played in the Senior Bowl, worked out at the NFL Combine, and most recently ran through drills at University of Washington Pro Day in Seattle. Desmond has been so impressive in his workouts that he’s now a projected first round draft pick. When he takes the field in September, he’ll become the third Trufant to suit up in the NFL, achieving one of the rarest feats in NFL history.
“It’s really cool,” Desmond told me after his Pro Day workout, which was attended by his brother Marcus. “I don’t know the last time there’s been three brothers in the league, and all playing the same position too (Marcus, Isaiah and Desmond are all cornerbacks). It’s big. We’re just looking forward to it.”
According to my research, only 26 families have put three or more brothers in the NFL (dating all the way back to the league’s debut in 1920). It’s an even more incredible feat to put three brothers in the league at the same time. You don’t have to look far to find the last brothers to do it: Rob (New England Patriots), Dan (Cleveland Browns/New England Patriots) and Chris Gronkowski (Indianapolis Colts) all played in the NFL during the 2011 season. Aside from the Gronkowski’s though, only seven other families have watched three or more brothers play in the NFL in the same season (or seasons).
It’s going to take some work from the Trufant’s to make that happen next season though. Marcus is a free agent after ten years in Seattle, Isaiah is an exclusive-rights free agent after two seasons with the Jets, and Desmond still needs to be drafted and signed (although that won’t be a problem). So, it’s not a guarantee that we’ll see ‘Trufant’ plastered on the back of three different NFL jerseys in 2013.
There’s some speculation that Marcus’ career is over. He might not find a team that’s willing to sign him (the Seahawks won’t comment on his status right now), or he might just call it quits on his own (even though he’s only 32-years-old). I honestly don’t think retiring is in Marcus’ plans though. When I asked him about the three Trufant brothers playing together in the NFL next season, he was really excited about the idea.
“It’s big time for our family,” Marcus told me. “It’s big for this city, because we were all born and raised here in Washington. It’s just love all the way around. We’re just trying to do the best wan can to represent.”
While Marcus was a first round draft pick out of Washington State in 2003, and Desmond appears to be a first round pick in 2013, Isaiah had a much different path to the NFL. After starring at Eastern Washington, he played in the Arena Football League and United Football League before he cracked an NFL roster. He didn’t even make his NFL debut until he was 28-years-old. He plays some cornerback for the Jets, but Isaiah is more of a special teams player in New York.
“Our parents raised us well,” Desmond told me. “We all went through good programs. We worked hard and had a lot of dedication, and it’s all paying off.”
Three brothers playing in the NFL at the same time would be a dream come true for the Trufant family. If it doesn’t happen, it’s still amazing to have three brothers play in the NFL at any point. We won’t know the fate of the Trufant’s for the next few months. Free agency started a couple days ago, the NFL Draft isn’t until late April and training camps don’t kickoff until August. It’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out. Keep your eyes peeled to the transaction wire for the latest.
UPDATE: Desmond Trufant was selected by the Atlanta Falcons with the 22nd overall pick in the NFL Draft.
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