Born on December 5, 1982
Inducted On
July 17, 2023
Location Inducted
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Region Number
Fort Wayne Harding
Fort Wayne Harding
Northwestern University
Trai Essex was a stand-out tight end and star basketball player at Harding High School in Fort Wayne. Essex grabbed 14 rebounds in the 2a state championship basketball game his senior year. He was recruited as a tight end and attended Northwestern University. In his freshman season, he caught 3 passes for 24 yards and a touchdown and was named to the All-Big 10 Freshman team. He moved to offensive tackle his sophomore year and would go on to start 37 consecutive games for Northwestern. He was named to ESPN's All-Bowl Team following his performance in the 2003 Motor City Bowl. Essex was a 3rd round draft pick in 2005 by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He started 4 games his rookie season at left tackle. He would play his entire pro career in Pittsburgh until being released in 2012. During his time with the Steelers, Essex would play in 77 games, starting 28 of them and being a part of 2 Super Bowl Championship teams. As a professional football player, Essex played tackle, guard, and even center. His position flexibility made him a valuable asset to the Steelers organization prompting the franchise to make keeping him on the roster a top priority.
Trai and his wife, Christina have two children, Amiyah and Gabrielle.