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Buccaneers OT Tristan Wirfs aiming to help fill Tom Brady's leadership void

Tom Brady's retirement left myriad question marks for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to answer and vacancies to fill.

Not the least of which was a leadership void vacated by the all-time great. It's a role Pro Bowl left tackle Tristan Wirfs is looking to take on this year.

"We had Tom," Wirfs told the Vikes Verified podcast, via Pewter, earlier this summer. "Tom is an incredible leader. He's an incredible person. You could put him up there with the best leaders of all time. He was very vocal. He'd bring the whole team up and give a little speech after practice. He'd bring the whole offense up.

"Obviously, I'm not even close to that level to do that now, but I want to say a couple things -- how I'm feeling or what I'm thinking. Just how practice went -- just little things. I've been trying to do that more. Trying to be somebody that the younger guys can kind of lean to or ask me questions about whatever. It is weird, I still feel young, but going into Year 4, I've been to the Super Bowl, been to the playoffs, been to the NFC Championship, I've done stuff."

Indeed, the 24-year-old Wirfs already owns an impressive resume as he enters his fourth NFL campaign.

Selected 13th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, Wirfs has been a Pro Bowler twice, an All-Pro once and, as aforementioned, won a Super Bowl. He did the latter in his rookie year, starting all 20 games during Tampa's title run.

However, Wirfs is looking to move on from just leading by example as the Bucs head into an uncertain 2023 season with Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask competing to succeed Brady at QB1.

"I've really been doing my best this offseason throughout all these OTAs and throughout this minicamp just to be a little bit more vocal," said Wirfs, who's never blocked for a starting quarterback other than Brady in his NFL career. "Because I feel like even through college, I've never been an extremely vocal leader. I've always been kind of a lead-by-example kind of guy – go almost under the radar. I feel like now it gets to a certain point where now I kinda got to take over."

Wirfs has let his play do the talking through three impressive seasons so far, but with Brady moving on, the lineman is ready to step up and speak up.

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