Marcus Trufant returned to the practice Friday for the first time since the veteran cornerback got a concussion in the first quarter of last week’s game against the Saints in New Orleans.
But the true sign that he was back came on a play when Trufant read the route as it was in progress and then jumped it to make an interception.
“I feel good,” Trufant said. “I wanted to come out Friday and a get a real day of practice in, try to go through all my reads and stuff to try to catch up with the rest of the guys.”
Trufant passed the final test in his return from the concussion on Thursday.
“With flying colors,” he said after practice.
That allowed him to participate in every phase of practice, so he will start in Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Qwest Field.
“Without question, it’s great to have Tru out there for us – you know, with all his experience and all that,” coach Pete Carroll. “This is a very tough group we’re going up against and Tru will make a difference for us.”
Against the run, as well as the pass.
The Chiefs led the NFL in rushing offense, averaging 164.7 yards per game; and their 4.8-yard per carry average is tied for third best behind the Philadelphia Eagles (5.4) and Houston Texans (4.9). Trufant is a solid tackler coming up from his spot on the left side, as evidenced by his 51 tackles – one fewer than the co-leading quartet of linebackers David Hawthorne and Lofa Tatupu and safeties Lawyer Milloy and Earl Thomas. And Trufant’s 43 solo tackles are tied with Thomas for the team lead.
But the Chiefs’ passing game also has been productive, especially when quarterback Matt Cassel goes to 6-foot-2, 221-pound wide receiver Dwayne Bowe – who leads the league in touchdown catches (11) and the team in receptions (45, for a 15.9-yard average).
“He’s just a big-time player,” Trufant said. “He competes at the ball. He’s a big target. And they’ve got a good quarterback who’s going to put it in the right spot. So you’ve always got to know the ball is coming if you’re on him.
“They kind of hit you with the double threat. They’ve got a good running game, so everybody’s just got to be on their game.”
Some players might embrace getting a day or two off from practice at this stage of the season, but not Trufant.
“I’m the type of guy, I always want to be on the field practicing,” he said. “There’s nothing like seeing it and going through it. So I’ve got to put in some extra time, because I missed a couple days.
“You can watch film. You can do all that kind of stuff. But for me, I’m a feel-type of guy. I’ve got to feel it and then I’ve got to go through it.”
He does, however, understand the procedure required to get back on the field after a concussion. His came when he took a knee to the helmet while tackling Saints running back Chris Ivory.
“I never doubted that I’d be back this week,” Trufant said. “But I wanted to go through all the protocol that the league has now. There’s a lot more you have to go through with all the tests – the mental and physical part – just to make sure everything is good.
“They take care of you in the league, so I think it’s a good thing.”