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 across the sidelines on Sunday, playing against his older brother Marcus Trufant and the Seattle Seahawks for the first time in his hometown stadium at 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 did it all, and 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 the Seahawks’ stadium several times over the course of Marcus Trufant’s 10-year career in 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 5-8 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 special teams tackles.
But the Eastern Washington University product had his best game as a pro three weeks ago at New England against one of the best receivers in the league, cat-quick Wes Welker.
Isaiah 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 straight, 100-yard receiving performances before the Oct. 21 contest against the Jets.
After earning defensive player of the year honors with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League, Isaiah Trufant was added to the Jets practice squad in December 2010, and later elevated to the team’s active roster.
He was released by the Jets the following month and went to training camp in 2011 with Philadelphia. But after the Eagles cut him during final roster cuts, the Jets picked up Trufant in September of 2011, and he’s been with the team ever since.
It’s definitely exciting,” Isaiah 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 sons Marcus and Isaiah play against each other on Sunday, but youngest son Desmond, a senior cornerback for the University of Washington, also plays at CenturyLink Field Saturday night, as the Huskies host Utah in a Pac-12 tilt.
Isaiah Trufant said he plans to make the game if his schedule permits on Saturday.
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.