Trufant, a first-round pick in 2003, was scheduled to make $7.2 million next season and $8.8 million in 2013, so his release or the restructuring of his contract had long been expected. A Pro Bowler in 2007, Trufant played in just four games last season before a back injury landed him on the injured-reserve list. Trufant also opened the 2010 season on the physically unable to perform list because of a back injury.
In Trufant's absence, rookie Richard Sherman showed considerable potential, and Seattle's other starting cornerback, Brandon Browner, made the Pro Bowl in his first year in the NFL after being signed out of the Canadian Football League. The success of Sherman and Browner meant Trufant, even if he restructured his deal to stay in Seattle, almost certainly would have ended up with a backup role. The Seahawks also are high on Walter Thurmond, who briefly took over Trufant's starting job before breaking his leg, and have high hopes for Byron Maxwell, a sixth-round pick in 2011 who battled an ankle injury and a bout with pneumonia as a rookie.
Trufant, 31, was Seattle's longest-tenured player and along with linebacker Leroy Hill was one of just two players on last year's team remaining from the 2005 Super Bowl squad. After being selected with the 11th overall pick in 2003, the former Washington State standout immediately became a starter and over nine seasons had 21 interceptions and recorded 610 tackles. He earned Pro Bowl honors after posting a career-high seven interceptions in 2007.
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