|Milk ads are about as flashy as Seahawks CB Trufant gets|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 13 December 2007 14:45|
The quiet Seahawk, second in the NFL with seven interceptions, is a bashful anomaly in a brash world. He is a starting cornerback, a position that - in the legacy of Deion ``Primetime'' Sanders - seems to entitle showmanship.
``I would say he is unique. In this day and age you don't see that many corners like that. There is a tendency toward showboating at that position,'' Seahawks defensive backs coach Jim Mora said.
Trufant, who turns 27 on Christmas Day, is a former first-round pick with the demeanor of an undrafted free agent. He just won his first award as NFC player of the week for his three interceptions in Seattle's 42-21 rout of Arizona on Sunday - then called it a team honor and thanked his buddies on the defense.
He is a throwback in this era of self-promotion, sound bites and highlight clips. He would sooner retire than get in a sideline shouting match and public spat with his coach - even if that coach was about to ditch the team for, say, Arkansas - as two-time Pro Bowl cornerback DeAngelo Hall did recently with now-former Falcons coach Bobby Petrino.
And he's more likely to give cash to charity than be fined $15,000 for criticizing the officiating, as Baltimore cornerbacks Chris McAlister, another Pro Bowler, and Samari Rolle each were by the league this month.
A celebration dance? Maybe if the lights are off and Trufant is the only one home.
``I say it's good for those guys. It's good for the game. Everybody is their own person,'' Trufant said of his flashy contemporaries. ``I do my thing, they do their thing.
``I still have fun out there, high-fiving.''
Oh, there is one bit of promotion in which he indulges: Trufant is a spokesman on radio advertisements for the Dairy Farmers of Washington, telling listeners of the benefits to getting daily servings of milk, eggs and yogurt.
Of all the things ``Primetime'' Sanders has bragged about, drinking milk is not one of them.
And there's that scripted tattoo on the inside of Trufant's left forearm: ``What doesn't kill me makes me stronger.'' He sheepishly said he got that soon after he left college, when ``Mom and Dad aren't looking at you as hard.''
``I've always been a hardworking guy,'' he said. ``I live by that: Hard work pays off.''
Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren thinks Trufant, who will likely shadow Carolina's dynamic Steve Smith on Sunday when Seattle (9-4) plays at Carolina (5-8), deserves the first Pro Bowl invitation of his five-year career.
But does anyone east of the Cascades know of him? Trufant has never played for a team outside his state. He was born and raised in Tacoma and played at Washington State before Seattle drafted him 11th overall in 2003.
Then there's his don't-look-at-me persona.
Trufant acknowledges a possible Pro Bowl invite is in the back of his mind - and that not being flashy could equal to not being in Hawaii in February.
``Maybe. Yes and no,'' he said. ``Sometimes the ESPN stuff shown over and over opens people's eyes.
``I don't have to do all that flashy-type stuff. I just go out there and take care of biz.''
Never more so than now. Trufant has fixed his puzzling tendency to be in position to make a play on the ball - but then not make it.
``I heard he was there a lot, but would not make the play,'' Mora said, who began coaching Trufant in the spring. ``All I said to him was - not to take the credit - I said, 'Go! Make the play! Just go! Don't worry about anything.'''
His seven picks this season are two fewer than he had in his first four seasons combined. Trufant also has knocked down 15 passes, tied for third-most in the NFC. He only had 11 last season.
``I think the best way to judge a corner is when he's by himself,'' Holmgren said. ``He's saying 'I got that guy and he's really good, now let's see what happens here.' And I think he's handling those situations pretty well.''
``Yeah, I needed to make some strides, get a little better,'' said Trufant, whose offseason workout regimen included drills to improve speed and explosiveness. ``I had been playing well, but I hadn't been playing all the way to my potential. I still feel like I've got room to improve.''
He also has 61 tackles. Only Nate Clements of San Francisco has more among defensive backs who are also among the leaders in passes defensed.
``Marcus just works hard,'' Mora said. ``He's dedicated. He's confident. He just doesn't wear it on his sleeve. He doesn't talk it, he plays it.''
But why not force the self-promotion, if just for the Pro Bowls and bigger paychecks?
``Sometimes it does help, I have to say,'' Trufant said, ``but I just want to be myself and go out and play.
``I don't think I'd be comfortable trying to act like someone I'm not. Like I said, I'm all about hard work. I'll let my play speak for itself.''