It's been three years since Redskins linebacker Lynden Trail played for his alma mater, Norfolk State, but the Spartans haven't forgotten the contributions he made to the football program while he was there.
Trail, and former Norfolk State teammate and current Colts linebacker Deon King, were both honored in front of a sellout crowd on Saturday at the Norfolk State-Hampton basketball game – a contest the Spartans won handily, 79-62.
Trail and King were teammates for three years (2012-14) at Norfolk State. In 35 games (27 starts) as a Spartan, Trail had 255 tackles (41.0 for loss), 19.5 sacks, 18 passes defensed, eight forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
Trail also showed some offensive skills as well at Norfolk State, catching three touchdown passes during his junior season (2013).
Trail made the first-team All-MEAC, was a two-time finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award as the top defender at the FCS level and was selected the National FCS Defensive Performer of the Year by the College Football Performance Awards.
Being with the Spartans for those three years really launched Trail into bigger and better things with the Redskins, as he worked his way up from Washington's practice squad to the active roster toward the end of the 2016 season. Trail made his NFL debut against the Chicago Bears during Week 16 of the season, and had one tackle and one pass defensed in his six snaps. Trail also played two snaps on special teams and suited up against the New York Giants in Week 17 with one assist in the game.
It was a roller coaster year for Trail, having been with both the Redskins and the Los Angeles Rams. He signed with the Rams' practice squad ten days after the Redskins released him, but Los Angeles released him shortly thereafter. Trail also worked at UPS at night and kept training, in the hopes that one day, his chance to be back in the NFL would come, and it surely did.
"It was crazy," Trail said. "I've told [general manager] Scot [McCloughan] multiple times I always appreciate the opportunity. I felt like he's one of those guys that truly believes in me, and to be back here still is surreal. It didn't really click for me until I ran out of the tunnel. I'm texting different family members, I'm texting my mom, I'm texting my fiancé, I'm texting my friends like 'this doesn't feel real. Somebody pinch me.' This is my dream, and just to be out there is me living it."