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Rookie Tristan Wirfs knows blocking for 'Tom is a pretty big deal'

Never-before-imagined rookie seasons are at hand for every first-season NFL player in 2020.

Then there's Tampa Bay Buccaneers first-round pick Tristan Wirfs, who – as a rookie – is being tasked with blocking for perhaps the greatest quarterback of all-time and one of the most ballyhooed free agents in NFL chronicle: Tom Brady.

The Iowa product, who is predicted to start at right tackle for the Bucs, is just trying to take it all in stride while likewise dealing with all the same COVID-19 protocols and offseason limitations as his class of '20 brethren.  

"I think my friends and family were more excited to see if I had met him or not," Wirfs told reporters Friday, via team transcript, when asked if there was an awe factor associated with meeting Brady. "I think it was every day they would text me, 'Did you meet Tom yet?' I don't want to underplay it at all, but he's just a guy, and I think that's how he wants to be treated. I think that more so my family was in shock that I was going to be his teammate."

Being in awe of a teammate isn't likely to go over well in an NFL locker room and one must presume the rash of jokes that would follow would be brutal. Still, Wirfs is also well aware of the magnitude of the situation. After all, there's perhaps never been more excitement surrounding the Tampa Bay franchise ahead of a season than now and it began when the Bucs signed the six-time Super Bowl winner.

"To protect a guy like Tom is a pretty big deal," Wirfs said.

It's also a pretty big age difference, as Wirfs is 21 and Brady is twice his rookie lineman's age at 42 – something it seems the GOAT pointed out.

"The first time I met him, we were just coming around a corner and met each other," Wirfs said. "He said, 'What's up, big dog?' I thought it was kind of crazy because he's Tom Brady. Then he asked me how old I was and I told him 21, and he kind of started laughing. He said something like, 'You think you have experience? I've got double your experience.' I was like, 'Yeah.' That's really about it. I waved to him when he was leaving the other day. He seems really nice. I'm excited to get to be his teammate."

Ahead for Wirfs is getting acclimated to all things being a Buccaneer, which includes learning the playbook and eventually breaking down film on opponents.

Hence, Wirfs has more decorated veterans to think about as the Bucs are set to open against the Saints and that means he'll likely square off with one of the league's preeminent pass rushers in Cam Jordan.  

"It'll be different for sure not having preseason games," Wirfs said. "I don't really know how much different it'll be for me coming from college – we didn't really have preseason games. We just had camp and then started playing. They were non-conference [games], but still. This time around – I know we have some good pass-rushers on the Bucs, so just getting some work in with them and doing the best I can. If the case is that I'm going against Cam Jordan, I'll be excited. [I will] just give it my best."

The No. 13 pick of the draft will most certainly have to bring his best as a most unconventional rookie campaign will see him jump right in and start blocking for perhaps the best that's ever played.

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