Updated: Dec. 28, 2006, 4:15 PM ET Rookie Jennings to start against Bucs on Sunday By Len Pasquarelli ESPN.com With starter Marcus Trufant nursing a high ankle sprain that could keep him off the field for weeks, Seattle first-round choice Kelly Jennings, who has served as the Seahawks' nickel defender all year, will make his first start at right cornerback in Sunday's season finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jennings The 31st selection overall in the draft, Jennings played well at right cornerback last Sunday, after Trufant suffered the ankle injury in the third quarter. Coach Mike Holmgren said the game was Jennings' best of his rookie season. The performance of Jennings, a former University of Miami standout, is key to the Seahawks. Given that high ankle sprains usually require a few weeks of treatment, Trufant, the team's best cornerback, probably will not be available for at least the first round of the playoffs. Although Seattle is the NFC West champion, the Seahawks likely won't have a bye in the postseason, so Jennings almost certainly will retain the starting role for the outset of the playoffs. Five-year veteran Kelly Herndon continues as the starter at left cornerback. Because of his size (5-foot-11, 176 pounds), there is some concern in the organization about the wear and tear on Jennings after a long rookie season, but he seems to have held up pretty well so far. "It does kind of wear on you," Jennings told the Seattle Times. "But sometimes you just have to fight through and [understand] that this is the business, this is the job, and it's what you have to do." In 15 games, Jennings, 24, has 35 tackles, one interception and five passes defensed. Because of the injury to Trufant, the Seahawks have signed veteran free agent cornerback Rich Gardner, a former third-round pick of the Tennessee Titans who was released in training camp. A two-year veteran, Gardner has appeared in 28 games, and has 24 tackles, one interception and six passes defensed. The former Penn State standout is expected to primarily contribute on special teams.