Desmond adds new limb to Trufant’s NFL family tree
As it turns out, the youngest Trufant brother isn’t as tough as he thought he was.
“I didn’t expect to cry,” Desmond Trufant said Thursday night after the Atlanta Falcons used the 22nd draft pick of the first round to welcome him into the NFL.
“I try to be a tough guy, but it’s been such a long wait, with so much hard work, I just couldn’t help it.”
The Falcons, which made it to the NFC Championship Game last season, traded up eight spots to get the Wilson High and University of Washington product.
It’s familiar territory for the Trufants, as elder brother Marcus was a first-round pick with the Seahawks, and middle brother Isaiah rose through minor leagues to make it to the NFL as a free agent with the Jets. All three play cornerback.
When Marcus was drafted with the 11th pick 10 years ago, he pointed at his youngest brother, Desmond, just 12 at the time, and predicted he would be the best in the family.
Mock drafts suggested he’d be a first-rounder, but predictions ranged from the 12th pick all the way down to No. 30. His phone rang when Cincinnati was making its pick at 21, but he didn’t start celebrating until everything was confirmed.
To go to a contending team is one important element, but equally rewarding to Trufant was the connection he made with the Falcons through an individual workout he had with them.
“They loved me throughout the whole process,” he said. “They told me it was one of the best workouts they’d seen.” And their expending two other draft picks to trade up to get him “tells me they really saw something in me ... and I’m going to return the favor. I’m going to work hard and grind from day one.”
Of course he is. Growing up a Trufant, he knows no other way.
“With him growing up 10 years younger than Marcus and eight years younger than me, he got to see a lot of things and be in that environment, so there was a trickle-down effect,” Isaiah said. “You could see it very, very early. I remember when he was really little, kindergarten, even, they’d have little track meets, and if they had a 100-meter race, Desmond would beat everybody else by 50 meters. It was crazy how good he was.”
Isaiah sees in Desmond “a fierceness in the way he approaches the game.”
His competitiveness showed last season, as he was at his best in the biggest games, saving a win for UW with a late interception against No. 7-ranked Stanford, and then holding the conference’s best receiver, USC’s Marqise Lee, to a season-low two catches.
Marcus remains a free agent, so his priorities are to “stay in shape, stay by the phone and see if I can get with a team.” But on Thursday, his job was closer to home: “Right now, I’m (Desmond’s) biggest cheerleader – I’m going crazy.”
More important than cheering for his kid brother, Marcus had advice collected from a decade in the game. “Mainly, always be yourself; always put your best foot forward; control what you can control and put the business first.”
Any story of one Trufant is a story of them all because it’s always been about family. While some might seek out parents Constance and Lloyd for advice on how to raise three sons to reach the NFL, it might be more valuable to ask them how they parented three young men to be so responsible, respectful and productive.
“We owe it all to our parents,” Desmond said. “They pointed us in the right direction since we were young.”
Lloyd expressed his pride, and joked that “maybe I did something right.”
“The most important thing I’ve seen is that they respect each other so highly as brothers,” Lloyd Trufant said. “They’re competitors when they’re playing, but otherwise, they’re really united as brothers.”
Asked of the notable influence of his wife on the men in the family, Lloyd said: “She’s still trying to raise me.”
Three sons in the NFL will make fall weekends pretty busy for the Trufants, but Constance was not complaining: “It’s all good.”
How, then, Mom, did it come to this?
“We made a commitment as husband and wife that we were going to be together and raise them the best we knew how,” Constance said. “Just like any other parent, we always try to give them more than we had. We taught them to put God first in their life, that life is a blessing. And then to be there for them.”
They were all together Thursday night when the youngest brother got the most important call of his life and he tearfully hugged everyone in the room, not at all worried that he wasn’t as tough as he thought.