Former Defensive MVP Stars in NFL Opener
September 12, 2011 - United Football League (UFL) News Release
JACKSONVILLE, FL - Monday, September 12, 2011 - Former Las Vegas Locomotives cornerback and 2010 UFL Defensive Player of the Year ISAIAH TRUFANT made his mark on the opening weekend of the NFL season by returning a blocked punt 18 yards for a touchdown as the New York Jets staged a dramatic comeback to beat the Dallas Cowboys.
Trufant's special teams score with five minutes left in regulation changed the course of the contest and tied the game at 24-24 before Jets kicker Nick Folk hit a 50-yard field goal with 27 seconds for the victory.
Five days from today the United Football League kicks off its third season when the Omaha Nighthawks welcome the Virginia Destroyers to TD Ameritrade Park at 7pm CT / 8pm ET on Thursday, September 15. Two days later in Sacramento, the Mountain Lions host Trufant's former Locos at Hornet Stadium at 10.30pm PT / 7.30pm ET.
The New York Jets scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to rally from a 24-10 fourth-quarter deficit and claim a 27-24 home win over the Cowboys Sunday night.
"Your eyes light up when you hear (the sound of) that block," said Trufant after scoring his first National Football League touchdown. "And then you pick the ball up and run... and all I saw was daylight and fans cheering."
Trufant, who had spent the 2011 NFL training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles, signed to the Jets practice squad on September 5, returning to the team that signed him following the 2010 UFL season. He was activated from the practice squad just one day prior to the season-opener.
"I (got home) and a few hours later I got the call to get on the red-eye and come back," said Trufant, who also had two solo special teams tackles Sunday night. "I was very grateful. It's been somewhat of a roller coaster ride. But I just try to take advantage of any opportunities I get."
Trufant earned the UFL's top defensive honor last fall by recording a league-record four interceptions, doing so in three consecutive games against veteran quarterbacks Jeff Garcia (twice), Daunte Culpepper and Josh McCown. He also had 30 total tackles, four passes defended and a fumble recovery.
In 2009, Trufant had the key interception in overtime of the inaugural UFL Championship Game, leading to the game-winning field goal to give the Locos their first title. During the regular season, he had 13 total tackles and broke up four passes.
Following the 2010 UFL season, Trifant signed with the Jets and played in the regular-season finale (two solo tackles) and the 28-21 divisional playoff win against the New England Patriots.
Trufant started his professional career in 2006 with the Spokane Shock of arenafootball2 then continued in the Arena Football League with the Kansas City Brigade (2007) and Arizona Rattlers (2008) before coming to the UFL.
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