Wednesday was a day for parting ways. Peyton Manning led the national headlines as the Colts released their iconic QB, but the Seahawks also released veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant.
Eric Williams at the News Tribune looks at Trufant’s tenure with the Seahawks: “During the 2011 season, Trufant said the possibility of being released from a team roster is something players have to accept. ‘You just know that’s part of the game,’ Trufant said. ‘And eventually something like that is going to happen. But you’ve just got to be ready for it mentally, and be able to be strong and move on.’ ”
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times looks at how the decision to release Trufant was not difficult, but still not easy: “The Seahawks’ decision to release cornerback Marcus Trufant wasn’t all that hard to understand. He was a high-priced veteran who suffered a back injury in two of the past three seasons, and he played a position at which Seattle has a number of young players who are both promising and inexpensive. That doesn’t mean the decision to release Trufant was easy, though.”
John Boyle at the Everett Herald points to the development of Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner as key elements in Trufant’s release: “One of the biggest surprises of the Seahawks’ 2011 season was the play two first-year cornerbacks who helped Seattle’s secondary become one of the best in the NFL. And while the emergence of Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner bodes well for the Seahawks future, it also cleared the way for the team to part with a big part of its past. Marcus Trufant, a Tacoma native who was Seattle’s first-round pick in 2003, was released Wednesday, the team announced. The move hardly comes as a surprise given the play of Sherman and Browner last season. Browner, who spent the previous four years in the Canadian Football League, won a starting job in training camp and ended up a Pro Bowler in his first NFL season, and Sherman, a fifth-round pick in last year’s draft, showed tremendous potential after taking over a starting role midseason following injuries to Trufant and Walter Thurmond.”
Here at Seahawks.com, we revisit just what getting to continue his career with the Seahawks meant to Trufant, who grew up in Tacoma and played his college ball at Washington State: “Trufant was an all-state selection at Tacoma’s Wilson High School before becoming an All-American and All-Pac-10 player at Washington State. The fact that he was able to continue his career in his home state and for his hometown NFL team was never lost on Trufant. ‘I always say it’s like a storybook,’ Trufant told Seahawks.com in 2010. ‘Most people don’t get to play in their hometown. God had a plan for me and it’s just playing out. It’s been good – the love and support I get, and I’m close to my family.’ ”
We’ve also got a look at Trufant’s nine-season stay with the Seahawks in a photo blog.
We’re also getting a jump on Tuesday’s start of free agency by looking at the available players at each position, and we start with the defensive linemen. But we also take a look at the quarterbacks, where you-know-who tops a field that also includes Matt Flynn.
In Indy, what had become a potentially messy situation actually ended well – with Manning and Colts owner Jim Irsay embracing and the club retiring Manning’s No. 18. Don Banks at SI.com has the details: “In the end, they got it right. Peyton Manning and Jim Irsay stood side by side before the cameras at the Colts’ team complex on Wednesday and reminded us all again of how good they’ve had it for so long now. Theirs was the most successful and long-running player-owner relationship going in the NFL, and they didn’t let it go sour when it finally came time for this week’s bittersweet parting of the ways. The closure that Wednesday’s emotional press conference brought was much needed. The thanks-for-the-memories tone struck by both men was the proper one. After their messy blame game and transparent public relations maneuvering of the past couple months, Irsay and Manning thankfully had enough foresight to remember it’s how you finish that really matters. This story may not have a happy ending, but in the final analysis, it didn’t have an ugly one either.”
Now that Manning’s time in Indy is over, everyone wants to know where he’ll play next. Mike Sando at ESPN.com offers some myths vs. motivators: “Control of the offense is key: I’m buying this one as a true motivator, not just a myth. It’s tougher to envision Manning adapting his game for a system-oriented offensive coach such as Washington’s Mike Shanahan. Manning did control the offense in Indianapolis. Going to a team with a flexible offensive staff would seem to make the most sense.”
NFL.com, citing sources, throws the Seahawks’ hat into the ring for Manning’s services: “One team in particular wasted no time expressing its interest, as the Seahawks reached out to Manning’s camp, a league source told NFL Network’s Albert Breer.The Seahawks were among the initial group of potential Manning suitors, and the team reportedly plans to come at Manning ‘checkbook blazing’ to ensure he makes the Pacific Northwest his new home, ESPN New York reported Tuesday, citing a league source.”
Jerry Brewer at the Seattle Times says the Seahawks have to take a shot at wowing Manning: “There will be a sprint to sign the four-time NFL MVP. Here’s hoping the Seahawks wear their best running shoes. The Seahawks should pursue Manning aggressively. Of course, they’ll have to scrutinize his neck, but if their medical staff confirms that he’s healthy enough to play, it’s a no-brainer to make a push to sign the best pure quarterback of this era. There’s no need to overthink it. It’s this simple: The Seahawks don’t have a quarterback good enough to make them true title contenders, and Manning, even if he returns at 80 percent of his greatness, makes almost any team an instant contender.”
And one company in Phoenix already is throwing mattresses at Manning in hopes of softening his landing with the Cardinals.
Regardless of what teams do to try and entice him, Pat Kirwan at CBSSports.com says Manning holds all the cards as he decides where he’ll shuffle off to next: “Every club that contemplates going after Manning has to realize this is not going to be the average free-agent recruiting trip. In plain English, Peyton Manning and Tom Condon will control the process, and all the teams that think they are interested better get ready to play in this high stakes poker game. I was deeply involved in the attempt to recruit the late Reggie White when free agency first began back in 1993. He wouldn’t even visit unless I guaranteed we would not be outbid for his services, he wasn’t going to work out, and he wanted a press conference during his stop in New York. Trust me, Peyton Manning will control this whole process.”
Kirwan and his cronies also speculate on where Manning will land. The final tally? Arizona 4, Miami and Kansas City 2, Washington 1, retirement 1. Clark Judge picks the Chiefs, offering: “GM Scott Pioli knows how difficult it was to beat Manning when Pioli was in Indianapolis, and Romeo Crennel already has expressed an interest. Suddenly, the Chiefs could have a passer to rival Philip Rivers within the division.”
But Kerry J. Byrne at SI.com says teams should heed the warning signs with the Manning: “And the reality is that Manning is, at best, a stop-gap measure and a short-term solution with few precious years remaining in the NFL. The team that signs him tomorrow may land a future Hall of Famer. But they’re also landing an aging player, fresh off a catastrophic injury, who even in the best of circumstances is on the back-nine of his career.”
Also at CBSSports.com, Pete Prisco lists Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant among his “little-known players I really like,” offering, “I will break him down on tape for a Thursday column here at CBSSports.com, but I really like this kid. He plays hard. He’s an anchor in the 3-4 and can also play inside in a 4-3. Oh, and he’s only 27.”