The Other Side Of The Player

.NET's Mark Olsen volunteered at a recent charity event held by Marcus Trufant, and he came away with some important thoughts.

As football fans, sometimes we get so caught up in our teams and the players that we see everything from a single point of view. For instance, when I hear the name Marcus Trufant, I think of a young, talented Seahawks DB blanketing opposing players and making plays for our defense. I see #23 making the crucial interception during the must-win 49er game that ended our regular season in 2003. I see a helmet, pads, and a numbered jersey, but a funny thing happened last weekend. I realized that the jersey actually contains a person.

I was recently lucky enough to be asked to contribute some of my time for a charity event put on by Marcus Trufant and his family. The Trufant Family Foundation held a dinner celebration at Marcus' alma mater, Wilson High School in Tacoma, on Saturday, April 17. I realize now that my initial reaction was extremely selfish. I didn’t say yes because of the charity, I said yes simply because I wanted to stand close to that jersey, I wanted to brag to my friends that I hung out with the same #23 that we all scream, cheer, and cry for every Sunday. After helping set up some pre-event fixtures, I was introduced to Sandy, the Seahawk liaison for the event. It was all I could do to try and contain my adrenaline rush as she asked me to help the arriving players get parked in the VIP parking area, and then stand at the autograph table and make sure the players and Seagals had everything they needed. I was ecstatic.

But then something happened. The players began showing up and sitting down at the autograph table prior to the event, and as I started talking with the first two players to arrive, it began to dawn on me. These are not just a couple of jerseys, in fact they weren’t wearing jerseys at all… these guys were just normal people.

Needless to say, I was humbled. I spoke to Jerheme Urban about his off-season, his hometown in Texas, and his thoughts on the coming season. I listened and watched as Jerramy Stevens gave Marcus Trufant a hard time when a fan came through the line wearing a Washington Huskies 2001 Rose bowl shirt. I talked to Chris Davis about his preseason last year, and the injury that cut such a promising year short (he said he’s about 80% right now, but will be ready for training camp BTW), I watched as Seneca Wallace gave a congratulatory handshake to a 12 year old boy that had won the football toss competition by throwing a football through a tire 5 times in a row, and I watched as these larger-then-life players clamored for the attention of a young cancer patient who’s eyes lit up as the players stopped to pose for pictures and shake his hand.

Humbled? Hell yes. I felt small for volunteering for this event based on the selfish reasons that had motivated me, but more than that, it was overwhelming to see these players and Seagals, whom I had always thought were just pads, jerseys, and helmets, now as people, unselfishly giving their time on a Saturday night to a charity put on by one of their own.

We hear so much about the problems of the players off the field, and the banter in the fan forums is filled with such topics, but it seems that we never hear much about these types of events, or the people that put them on. Let this be a shout out to those players and Seagals from one guy that feels like he gained more from their efforts than even the organizations (The Local schools and the Boys and Girls club) that we were there supporting. These players are good people that happen to play a game that I love, and this is one fan that will now have a different perspective on the people inside of those pads, helmets, and jerseys. Props to Alex Bannister, Walter Bernard, Terreal Bierria, Chris Davis, Jerramy Stevens, Jerheme Urban, Seneca Wallace, and Taco Wallace, as well as Seagals Sarah, Kiara, Shelly & Kim, and of course the founder, Mr. Marcus Trufant and his family.

Mark Olsen writes for He’s also an admin (as "rockhawkx") for our Fan Forums. Feel free to send Mark feedback at Top Stories