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Trent Farris Dilfer (born March 13,1972 in ) is a former American football quarterback in the National Football League. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sixth overall in the 1994 NFL Draft and went on to play for the Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers. He played college football at Fresno State.Dilfer was a Pro Bowl selection with the Buccaneers in 1997 and earned a Super Bowl ring with the Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV. He currently serves as an analyst for ESPN.

Early years

Dilfer attended Aptos High School in California.

College career

Dilfer attended Fresno Statemarker. As a starter for 2 1/2 seasons for the Bulldogs, Dilfer helped Fresno State win or share the conference title for three straight seasons and started in two bowl games. In his junior season, Dilfer led the nation in pass efficiency en route to being named the WAC Offensive Player of the Year. He also set the NCAA record for consecutive pass attempts without an interception – 271 – that would stand until 2007, when Kentucky quarterback Andre' Woodson broke it. He would then forgo his senior season to declare himself eligible for the 1994 NFL Draft.

Professional career

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Dilfer's professional football career began when he was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with their 1st pick in the 1994 NFL Draft (6th overall) after his junior season at Fresno State.

Enlisted as the starter in his second year, after seeing spot duty in his rookie year, Dilfer struggled during what was still a dark period for the Buccaneers as a whole, when in 1995 he threw only 4 TD passes but 18 interceptions. The following year, he showed moderate improvement by upping his TD production, but failed to improve his turnover numbers (recording a career-high 19).

The following season, a year that Tampa's offense was aided by the arrival of rookie Warrick Dunn and the emergence of Mike Alstott, Dilfer was the first Tampa Bay quarterback to ever go to the Pro Bowl, which some say was a reward for a highly efficient season in the Buccaneers' limited offense. In the first 12 games of that year Dilfer passed for 2213 yards, 19 touchdowns and five interceptions. However, Dilfer's performance was perceived to decline in his last four games. In the playoffs the Buccaneers defeated their NFC Central rivals, the Detroit Lions, before losing to their long-time division rivals, and defending Super Bowl champions, the Green Bay Packers. While with the Bucs, he won more games than any quarterback in franchise history and took the team to their first playoff game in 15 years.

Dilfer threw for 21 touchdowns with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in both the 1997 and the 1998 NFL seasons. In the 1996-1999 NFL seasons, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dilfer averaged 2,729 yards a season and had a total of 58 touchdowns.

Baltimore Ravens

After the 1999 season, the Bucs granted unconditional free-agent status to Dilfer on 11 February 2000, rather than pay him a $4.6 million bonus due in March. Also compounding matters was the collarbone injury suffered by Dilfer midseason in 1999 and the subsequent winning streak that coincided with the insertion of QB Shaun King into the lineup, with the Bucs going to the NFC Championship Game that season, and making Dilfer expendable.

Dilfer signed with the Ravens on March 8 2000 and became the backup for Tony Banks. After two straight losses and four straight weeks without an offensive touchdown, the Ravens replaced Banks with Dilfer. The Ravens would lose their third straight game and fail to score a touchdown for the fifth straight week. It would be the last time the Ravens would lose that season, or go without a touchdown. The Ravens finished the season winning seven straight to earn a wild card berth at 12-4. The 7-1 run also gave Dilfer a 45-39 record as a starter at that point.

In the playoffs, Dilfer went 3-0, and the Ravens advanced to Super Bowl XXXV in Tampamarker to meet the New York Giants. Halfway through the first quarter Dilfer connected with Brandon Stokley on a deep post for a 38-yard touchdown, badly beating Jason Sehorn. A third down 44-yard pass to Qadry Ismail would set up a field goal before halftime, to give Baltimore a 10-0 lead. The Ravens eventually won easily, 34-7. Dilfer's game stats were 12 completions for 153 yards and 1 TD.

Coupled with his success and the fans dislike of previous starter Tony Banks, Dilfer became very popular in Baltimore, but he was surprisingly released after the season. With this, he became the only Super Bowl winning quarterback released the following season. He was seen as a "caretaker" quarterback, due to the strength of the Ravens' defense, and head coach Brian Billick's run-heavy offense. He was replaced by Kansas City Chiefs' Pro Bowler Elvis Grbac, a somewhat controversial decision. In 2001 Grbac's passer rating was 5.5 points lower than Dilfer's was in 2000.

Seattle Seahawks

On August 3 2001, the Seattle Seahawks signed Dilfer as a back-up quarterback to starter Matt Hasselbeck whom Dilfer to this day calls by his given name Matthew. Dilfer saw his first action when Hasselbeck injured his groin in week three against the Oakland Raiders. Dilfer started and won the next two games, before being replaced by a healthy Hasselbeck. Dilfer came on in a relief role against the Washington Redskins, when Hasselbeck struggled. He continued as the starter when Hasselbeck suffered a separated left shoulder. Dilfer started the final two games of the season, and with Seattle in the playoff hunt, won them both. He ended the season by throwing five touchdowns and two interceptions in two three-point victories. The Seahawks' AFC (they were still in the AFC in 2001) wild-card hopes ended when the Ravens beat the Minnesota Vikings 19-3 on Monday Night Football. At the end of the season, Dilfer's passer rating was 92.0 and he had won 15 straight starts.

Partially because the Seattle Seahawks' starting quarterback, Hasselbeck, was coming off a season where he went 5-7 as a starter and threw eight interceptions and seven touchdowns, Dilfer was re-signed by the team to a four-year deal on March 1, and was slated as the starter heading into training camp. However, in an exhibition game against Indianapolis, Dilfer sprained his medial collateral ligament in his right knee. With the injury, Dilfer lost the starting job to Hasselbeck. Dilfer returned to the starting position against the Arizona Cardinals with a 13-24 loss. On October 28 2002, in week 8, he suffered a season-ending torn achilles tendon against the Dallas Cowboys on the synthetic turf at Texas Stadiummarker. At that point in the season, the Seahawks were 2-5.

In 2003, Dilfer played sparingly in a relief role, and was primarily used to mentor Hasselbeck.

In 2004, Dilfer started in only two games, and won them both: November 28 versus the Miami Dolphins, 24-17, and December 26 versus the Arizona Cardinals, 24-21.

Cleveland Browns

In March 2005, Dilfer was traded to the Cleveland Browns where he was named the starting quarterback for the 2005 NFL season and mentored rookie quarterback Charlie Frye. The Browns thought it would work out, working Charlie Frye slowly into the lineup, and having a veteran to tutor him, but Dilfer wanted out of Cleveland due to a behind the scenes dispute with then offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon. In Dilfer's lone season for the Browns, he passed for 2,321 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also threw 12 interceptions and fumbled the ball 9 times (losing 7 of those). His passer rating was 76.9. He did however have the highest completion percentage of his career at 59.8 percent.

San Francisco 49ers

In May 2006, Dilfer was traded to the San Francisco 49ers to serve as a mentor to the 2005 first round draft pick Alex Smith. In return, the 49ers gave the Browns Ken Dorsey and a 7th round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. A close friend of former 49ers quarterback John Brodie, Dilfer received permission from Brodie and the 49ers to wear his retired number 12 in support of Brodie eventually going into the Pro Football Hall of Famemarker. It marked the first time Dilfer wore number 12 since his days with the Buccaneers.

On September 30, 2007, Dilfer took over from Alex Smith following Smith's grade three shoulder separation. He would go on to start for the 49ers in games against the Seahawks, Ravens and Giants before conceding the starting back to Smith. However with Smith's effectiveness in question coming back from injury, coach Mike Nolan announced on November 14, 2007 that Dilfer would be the starting quarterback. Dilfer would go on to start in games against the Rams, in victory over the Cardinals in overtime, and against the Panthers. On December 9 in a home game against the Vikings, Dilfer suffered a head injury resulting in a concussion whilst diving for a 1st down on 4th and 2 that took him out of the game and subsequently the season. He was succeeded by third string backup Shaun Hill.

On March 13, 2008, the 49ers released Dilfer.


Dilfer officially announced his retirement on July 9, 2008. Though he had suffered an Achilles' tendon injury playing basketball earlier in the offseason, Dilfer stated that he was planning to retire anyway.


Dilfer joined the NFL Network as a guest analyst in 2006. On September 15, 2007 he appeared on the NFL Network's pregame show. He was the NFL Network's color analyst for the 2008 Senior Bowl as well as a studio analyst during the 2008 NFL playoffs. On July 14, 2008 Dilfer signed on as an NFL analyst for ESPN.


He is married to Cassandra Dilfer, a former Fresno State swimmer, and they have three daughters (Madeline, Victoria & Delaney) and a son, now deceased (Trevin); on April 27 2003, Trevin lost his 40-day battle with heart disease at the age of 5. On June 2 2003 Trent made his first public comments regarding his family's loss and, still grieving, openly wept. Aptos High School, Dilfer's alma mater, named their football field Trevin Dilfer Field.


Trent remains a very popular figure with Baltimore Ravens fans both for his play during the 2000 season and for his charitable activities.

Dilfer is considered one of the hardest-working and most down-to-earth players in the NFL, and is recognized as one of the best teammates and mentors in the game. Outside of football, he is a professed Christian, and continues to provide charity money and work in his spare time. He established TD4HIM, an organization in memory of Trevin, and he participates and hosts charity golf events to raise money for Aptos High. He also paid for Aptos High's new turf field.


  1. Official Site of the San Francisco 49ers - TE Roster
  2. TSN : NFL - Canada's Sports Leader
  3. Celeb golf: NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer announces retirement | | Reno Gazette-Journal
  4. The Seattle Times: Sports: Hawks Fun Notes: Wistrom's tribute comes up short
  5. SpringfieldNewsSun: Dayton, Ohio, news and information
  6. Aptos field to be named after late son of NFL pro Dilfer

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