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Trufant brothers taking over CenturyLink Field

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Trufant brothers taking over CenturyLink Field

SEATTLE (AP) Marcus Trufant has played in a Super Bowl and a Pro Bowl, and is now in his 10th season with his hometown team.

Yet for all those experiences, one of the most special moments in his football career with the Seattle Seahawks will come this weekend when he takes the field against his younger brother Isaiah of the New York Jets, and after youngest brother Desmond, a senior at Washington, plays on the same field the night before.

Three brothers, all playing the same position, two of which are already in the NFL with a third very likely to join the professional ranks next season.

And this weekend, all three will take their places on the turf at CenturyLink Field in a span of less than 24 hours. On Saturday night, Desmond will play the final home game of his college career when the Huskies host Utah. About 14 hours after the youngest Trufant walks off the field, Isaiah's Jets will face Marcus' Seahawks.

There is no guarantee any of the three will be playing in the NFL next season. Desmond will likely be an upper-round draft pick when April comes around, but Marcus and Isaiah both have contracts that expire at the end of the 2012 season.

So while this weekend doesn't feature all three in the same game, being on the same field just a few hours apart will be cherished by the entire Trufant clan, especially their parents Lloyd and Constance. The half-Marcus, half-Isaiah jerseys have already been made for Sunday, but only after everyone breaks out their No. 6 Washington jerseys for Desmond on Saturday night.

``It'll be a big day for us,'' Desmond said. ``(I'm) proud of my brothers, what they're doing and we've got to keep it going as a family, keep producing, keep doing good things.''

In many ways, the Trufant name is near the top of the football hierarchy in Washington state. All three were prep stars in nearby Tacoma, all three were standouts at state universities and all three beam with pride about their roots.

They have touched every level of football in the state of Washington. The three were prep standouts at Wilson High School in Tacoma. Marcus was a star at Washington State, Isaiah at Eastern Washington and Desmond now at Washington.

Marcus has spent his entire NFL career with Seattle. Isaiah started his pro career playing indoor football in Spokane before being the UFL defensive player of the year in 2010 with Las Vegas that helped earn his chance in the NFL, making up for being the shortest of the trio at just 5-foot-8.

``Growing up, he was the guy I always looked up to and wanted to be like,'' Isaiah said. ``Before any professional athlete, it was always big bro trying to do what he does and trying to be like him. Even though I was a smaller guy, I would strive to be successful like he was. I'm just grateful to be able to play against him on a professional level.''

Marcus was the prototype for the family. Lean and quick, with the size at nearly 6-foot tall and ability to be physical at the line. He was an all-everything in college at Washington State and is now going on a decade as part of the Seahawks secondary.

Desmond is Marcus 2.0. The same height. The same build. But perhaps with more natural talent and knack for the position than his oldest brother.

In the middle is Isaiah, who fit none of the molds typically cast for NFL cornerbacks and doesn't have the college pedigree of his brothers, yet has found a niche after working his way up through the lowest levels of pro football to get his shot in the NFL. His brothers say Isaiah is the best athlete of the three, yet took the longest road to finally reach the NFL.

Three brothers, one swath of turf, one memorable weekend for the Trufant family.

``It's just a blessing for us all to be playing football at a high level and doing what we grew up loving to do and doing what we wanted to do as adults,'' Isaiah said. ``Little bro, Lord willing, he's well on his way to doing what he loves to do also at a professional level.''

Desmond has improved this season and so have the prospects for where he could be drafted next April. Most draft pundits have Desmond listed among the top 10 cornerbacks available in next year's draft and a likely second-round pick. And that might come after being an all-Pac-12 selection.

After playing in 13 games last year, Isaiah is on pace to see the most action of his NFL career this season. He even made the first start of his career on Oct. 21 against pass-happy New England.

Marcus nearly saw his career in his home state end when he was released last March, but he re-signed with the Seahawks a month later after briefly considering a move to Denver. Ultimately the chance to continue his career without leaving home won out.

``It starts with the family,'' Marcus said. ``You have to have pride in the family name, the way we carry ourselves and the way we handle business on the field.''

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AP Sports Writer Dennis Waszak, Jr., in Florham Park, N.J., contributed to this report.

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Panthers honor Florida shooting victims before game against Capitals

Panthers honor Florida shooting victims before game against Capitals

Prior to their matchup against the Capitals, the Panthers honored the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Thursday night's game was the Panthers' first game on home ice since the shooting last week. BB&T Center, the home of the Panthers, is located about 20 minutes south of Parkland.

Both teams wore the school’s hat during warmups, and the Panthers will wear the school’s logo on their helmets and “MSD” patches on their jerseys for the rest of the season.

There was a was a moment of silence and ceremony prior to the game, during which the video board showed the pictures and names of all 17 victims.

Following the video Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo, who lives in Parkland, took the ice to give his own moving tribute. 

"It's time for us, as a community, to take action. Enough is enough." Luongo commended the school's teachers and said of the students, "You guys are an inspiration for all of us. You guys are giving us hope for the future." 

"When I'm done playing hockey, I want to spend the rest of my life in Parkland," Luongo said. "I love that city."

In addition to the ceremony and uniform tributes, the Panthers hosted a blood drive beginning at today noon and lasting through the second intermission of the game in an effort to replenish local blood banks.

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5 things to know about new Wizards player Ramon Sessions

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Associated Press

5 things to know about new Wizards player Ramon Sessions

The Washington Wizards signed point guard Ramon Sessions to a 10-day free agent contract on Thursday. Here are five things to know about the newest Wizards player...

**Sessions has played for Washington before. He was acquired by the Wizards at the trade deadline in 2015 and played out the 2014-15 season, appearing in 28 regular season games and 10 more in the playoffs. Sessions then spent the whole 2015-16 season with the team before leaving the following summer to sign a free agent deal with the Charlotte Hornets. In 1 1/2 seasons with the Wizards, Sessions averaged 9.2 points, 3.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds. He shot 46 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from three.

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**Sessions played one season for the Hornets and spent part of this year with the New York Knicks. The Knicks waived Sessions on Jan. 13. Over the past two seasons in Charlotte and New York, Sessions has averaged 5.7 points, 2.5 assists and 1.4 rebounds while shooting 37 percent.

**This is Sessions' 11th NBA season. In addition to the Wizards, Hornets and Knicks, he has spent time with the Bucks, Cavs, Lakers and Kings. He began his career in Milwaukee after getting selected in the second round of the 2007 draft.

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**Sessions went to the University of Nevada from 2004 through 2007 and left an impressive legacy as one of the best players in the program's history. The school's practice facility is, in fact, named after Sessions. It is called the 'Ramon Sessions Basketball Performance Center' and Sessions donated $1 million towards construction costs.

**Sessions overlapped with former Wizards player JaVale McGee at Nevada. Sessions was in his final season as a junior when McGee was a freshman. The Wolfpack were quite good that year. They peaked at No. 10 in the nation, the highest ranking in school history, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

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