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Searching for the truth on Trufant

Head coach Rex Ryan, left, talks with Jets

Head coach Rex Ryan, left, talks with Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine during a June minicamp. Credit: Joe Epstein.

Isaiah Trufant is about to get his moment in the sun against the Bills at New Meadowlands Stadium on Sunday.

"We want to see this kid play and could he help us in the playoffs?" Rex Ryan said this afternoon. "That's what we are trying to find out. He was that one league’s most valuable player and he’s done some good things on the practice field. We want to see of it translates to playing on Sunday."

The 5-8, 170-pound defensive back was taken aback by Ryan's words. 

"Just to have a guy say that about you, that's big," he said. "I just want to go out and prove myself. this is my chance. I've never had an NFL chance besides this so i want to make the most of it."

The Jets signed Trufant from the practice squad to their active 53-man roster today, ready to take a good look at him. The Tacoma, Wash. native and graduate of Eastern Washington, who was inked to the Jets' practice squad Dec. 8, recently finished up a stint with the UFL’s Las Vegas Locomotives, where he was named 2010 UFL Defensive Player of the Year after he leading the team with four interceptions.

It was Trufant's second season with the Locos. In 2009, he posted 13 tackles and four passes defensed, adding a pair of tackles in their 2009 UFL Championship Game victory over Florida. Trufant also played with the Spokane Shock of the Arena Football League in 2006, the Kansas City Brigade in 2007 and the Arizona Rattlers from 2007-09.

"He’s a guy, he’s practiced really well and he’s got something about him," defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said. "He makes plays and he’s got very unique movement skills. Here’s a guy who’s very small in stature. There’s a million different nicknames the guys have for him. But here’s a guy who’s been productive, and when we say play like a Jet, that’s how he practices -- hair on fire, making plays -- whether he was on the scout team or mixed in with the defensive side of it now,  too.

"Pittsburgh went five wide receivers on us," Pettine added, "New England played a lot of small ball against us. We want to make sure that we don't have a guy sitting right here in our practice squad that could potentially help us. We wanted to get him active and just go ahead and take a look, take a test drive. We have an opportunity to do it, get him out there for some reps on special teams, get him out there for some defensive reps.

"You don’t accidentally become defensive MVP of a league that you play in. Here's a guy that had a lot of production in the UFL and you could see why. It’s a unique blend. He’s got good ball skills, he just has a good knack for football, and it was intriguing enough for us to recommend that we find a way to get him up just to see what we have." 

New York Sports