RENTON — Seattle Seahawks headquarters went through a Tacoma takeover Thursday morning when Marcus Trufant announced his retirement.
Most of the family and friends who filled the auditorium were covered in “Team Tru” T-shirts. Trufant sat on stage with his wife, Jessica, parents, brothers and agent. His four little girls helped fill the front row.
Trufant sat in the center. Trying to keep up with his father, Lloyd, in the style department, his beard was trim, his bow tie pronounced. His words were filled with thanks.
What Seattle head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider a year ago told Trufant he could do became a realization: He was retiring as a Seahawk after signing a one-day contract.
“Everything seems like it has just happened to fall into place,” Trufant said.
After 10 seasons with Seattle, four in Pullman with Washington State and a series of athletic endeavors at Tacoma’s Wilson High School, Trufant is hanging it up. Sort of.
“Retirement” intimates he doesn’t have much left to do. That’s not the case for the 33-year-old Trufant.
First, he’ll continue to ferry his girls to ballet, cheerleading practice, tap class and wherever else they need to go. He has been out of the NFL for a year, shifting him into full-time dad duty. That time away from the game also made him realize the weight of home duties.
“I would take two-a-days any day …” Trufant said with a laugh.
While Trufant explained the announcement of “CUT” meant “cleanup time” in the house when he was young, and that there were weeds to pull and work to do, his mother, Constance nodded knowingly.
There was little talk about football. Though he was at the headquarters of the NFL team that drafted him 11th overall in 2003, Trufant did not spend his time announcing in-game accomplishments. He didn’t tout how he and his brothers, Desmond and Isaiah, all made it to the NFL.
Instead, he stayed on a theme of appreciation, likely explaining why everyone from youth coaches to current Seahawks Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Carroll showed up.
Sacramento Kings point guard Isaiah Thomas was there, as was former Seahawk Roy Lewis. Current Seahawks Jermaine Kearse and soon to be Hall-of-Fame Seahawk Walter Jones were also in attendance. High school friends, former coaches, folks associated with the Trufant Family Foundation. A “Go Cougs!” was hurled from the back, which Trufant paused to encourage and repeat. His brother and former University of Washington star, Desmond, took the cheer in stride.
Trufant read from notes he typed into his phone Wednesday night. Part of what he wrote about his NFL career was, “blah, blah, blah.” It was more dynamic than that.
On draft day in 2003, he sat in a hotel room away from a viewing party at Jillian’s in Tacoma. He was too nervous to be with the group. Watching the television with a half-packed bag — Trufant figured he would be airborne on the way to a press conference after being selected — his phone rang. It was Seattle head coach Mike Holmgren. He asked if Trufant if he was ready to be a Seattle Seahawk.
“I didn’t really know what to say, so I just said, ‘Yes,’” Trufant said.
Trufant recalls little from the opening press conference, which was a 45-minute drive away as opposed to a flight, beyond one distinct thing: His father’s gold suit and matching gold hat.
“He called it the Golden Opportunity Suit,” Trufant said.
Per usual, Lloyd’s attire was on point. That selection enabled Trufant to spend his entire sporting life in the state of Washington. Self-proclaimed as “not a big traveler,” going from Tacoma to Pullman to Seattle allowed him to build the homespun relationships that he was touting the day of his retirement.
Several bumps and bruises came with Trufant’s 638 tackles for the Seahawks. His body wasn’t responding the way it once did, and, when he was released at the end of training camp with the Jacksonville Jaguars last year, the end of football was clear.
“I think my body was giving out on me a little bit,” Trufant said. “So it was just one of those things man. I’m staying in shape now, but to try to tackle 230-pound running backs day in and day out, I just think it’s my time to go. I can’t even see myself doing that now, I haven’t did it in a year and it feels like I never did it, but it was just time man. I had a nice run, and I have no complaints.”
Carroll stood in the back of the auditorium Thursday. Trufant’s day was in part orchestrated by him. When the Seahawks didn’t bring back Trufant after the 2012 season, he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Carroll and Schneider told when he joined Jacksonville there would be an opportunity to retire this way, should he want to.
“I’ll always be a Seahawk,” Trufant said. “That’s how it’s going to be.”