<
>

Pro Bowl alternate Desmond Trufant feels underrated

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Although Atlanta Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant was named a Pro Bowl alternate along with fullback Patrick DiMarco, Trufant wasn't too disappointed about not being selected to the squad in the first place.

Trufant will use it as motivation, however.

The eight cornerbacks chosen for the original roster were Darrelle Revis, Richard Sherman, Aqib Talib, Patrick Peterson, Chris Harris, Josh Norman, Malcolm Butler and rookie Marcus Peters. Any one of them could drop out depending on teams that make the Super Bowl or players who pull out due to injury, although it's unclear which number alternate Trufant is at this point.

"I wouldn't say disappointed, but I just feel more underrated," Trufant said. "But it is what it is. It's all happening for a reason. I'm just going to stay hungry, stay working.

"Congrats to the ones that made it. But I know the type of player that I am and the type of player that I'm going to be. I'm just going to keep pushing."

It was hard to argue with how Trufant started the season. Opposing quarterbacks rarely threw his way as he shut down his side of the field from his left cornerback spot. It wasn't until Week 8 that he had some noticeable mistakes when he drew two pass interference penalties while guarding Tampa Bay's Mike Evans in a 23-20 loss to the Buccaneers. Trufant had another costly pass interference that led to a touchdown in a 20-10 loss to Minnesota in Week 12.

Then Trufant had some unexpected slip-ups while shadowing Jacksonville's Allen Robinson in last week's 23-17 win over the Jaguars, though the Pro Bowl voting was decided by then.

"I played corner, man," Trufant said. "Sometimes, it doesn't go your way. I'm not going to stick my head in the corner. Obviously I wish I could have done some differently, but I'm just going to learn from it. (Jacksonville) wasn't my best game. Sometimes that happens at this position.

"I'm just going to keep working. I know I can definitely get better. Technique, that's really all it is. But I have another opportunity this week. One game doesn't define me, good or bad. I'm just looking forward to the opportunity this week."

Falcons defensive coordinator Richard Smith certainly is not disappointed with Trufant's play.

"I was really pleased for him," Smith said of Trufant being named a Pro Bowl alternate. "I know he would have liked to probably been selected in the first ballot, but overall, I thought I was pleased with his performance throughout the entire year."