Bucs starting right tackle Tristan Wirfs was named the only Pro Bowl player on the roster this year, but there is no one left who deserves it. In a short span of time, Wirfs has solidified himself as one of the best offensive tackles in the league. He’s been a brick wall at the end of line for the Bucs and gets better every year.
On Thursday, Wirfs expressed how he felt after discovering he earned a Pro Bowl nod for the second time in his career.
“It’s exciting, I remember my agent called me and told me last night and then I called my mom and she freaked out,” Wirfs said. “She was very excited. It’s a really cool honor, I’m excited to be a part of the Pro Bowl games this year, that’s going to be fun. It is cool.”
Wirfs has quickly built up an impressive list of awards in three seasons. In his freshman year, he won a Super Bowl with the Bucs. In his sophomore year, he was a first-team All-Pro and was named to his first Pro Bowl. And in year three, he made it his second Pro Bowl with more to come.
That’s a great run to start a career. Wirfs talked about taking the time to reflect on and appreciate the performance.
“I think there was a point last year, I was just at my mom’s house and then I gave her my Pro Bowl jersey,” said Wirfs. “I think it was last season. It was just a really exciting moment to see her reaction and step back and realize what’s happened over the years. It was amazing. I feel like I got into a great situation with incredible teammates who have pushed me along the way and been incredibly supportive, as have the coaches. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Wirfs is appreciated by players and coaches
While he praised his teammates and coaches for getting him there, it was those same people who continued to compliment him.
“He’s done a great job since the day he got here,” said quarterback Tom Brady. We all love having him there with us and it was hard not to have him there. I think when he’s not there, we all notice. He really learns how to be a true professional and he takes his job seriously. He is clearly very talented.
“Just his size, his ability to keep people out of the backfield, (he’s) very hard for people to pass and he’s very hard to get around. He doesn’t get beaten very often, very, very, very rarely so very happy for him, he certainly deserves it. If he sticks to it, there will be many more.”
Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich marveled at the speed at which Wirfs has adapted to the NFL since being called up in 2020.
“I don’t know if I ever saw a man like that come in,” said Leftwich. “Obviously there have been some great tackles in this league where I wasn’t there to see everything, but he was like that when he came through the door. He should be a three-time Pro Bowl man if you really think about it.
“In his rookie year, he was probably the best tackle in the league. Just says a lot about who he is, what he’s about, how he approaches it. It’s not just skill with him, (it’s) the mental aspect, the work that he does every day. He’s a huge guy and a really great leader for us in that room. It’s good to see him getting what he deserves.”
Wirfs is ready for Pro Bowl events (if the Bucs don’t win the Super Bowl)
The Pro Bowl has a new look this year as the NFL has done away with the traditional game and opted instead for a skill league. Wirfs confirmed that he would like to participate in those events and mentioned which ones he wants to do in particular.
“I heard one was eating,” Wirfs said. “We’ll see, that will be fun, especially for the big boys. A food item would be nice. I eat everything.”
If you are a gambler you may want to put some money on Wirfs as he has some experience winning a game as a kid. But as much fun as the Pro Bowl games are, the 23-year-old has set his sights on a second Super Bowl, noting that he’d rather play for a Lombardi trophy than one that comes from a game to eat.
“When I was a kid, I was at the March of Dimes walk and they had a pie-eating contest, but it was just whipped cream,” Wirfs said. “I won, it was just how fast you could eat it. I think I was nine or ten. Hopefully I’m not there (at the Pro Bowl), hopefully we can get this ship in the right direction and be where we want to be.
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