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Bucs veteran QB Ryan Griffin strives to be tenured, not typecast

Since Super Bowl 55, most of the world has come to know Griffin as Tom Brady’s wingman.
Bucs quarterback Ryan Griffin (4) organizes a pass play during the team’s voluntary workout session Tuesday at AdventHealth Training Center.
Bucs quarterback Ryan Griffin (4) organizes a pass play during the team’s voluntary workout session Tuesday at AdventHealth Training Center. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Jun. 1
Updated Jun. 1

TAMPA — He’s attempting to become the first quarterback in Bucs history to make the team seven consecutive seasons. Problem is, fate already has typecast Ryan Griffin.

Even if the veteran backup defies conventional wisdom and achieves that milestone for tenure, he’ll forever more commonly be known as Tom Brady’s wingman. The viral image of Griffin keeping a staggering Brady upright in the immediate wake of the Bucs’ celebratory boat parade has been immortalized on every platform from TV to Twitter to T-shirts.

“I definitely had no idea it was going to blow up like that,” Griffin, 31, said Tuesday.

“A lot of T-shirts, a lot. It’s cool, I’m glad that everyone’s enjoying it. My family loves it. I’d love to get a little cut, but that’s okay.”

Tom Brady (12), left, is escorted by fellow Bucs quarterback Ryan Griffin (4), center, along with tight end Cameron Brate (84), right, after arriving at Port Tampa Bay following the team's celebratory boat parade three days after Super Bowl 55.
Tom Brady (12), left, is escorted by fellow Bucs quarterback Ryan Griffin (4), center, along with tight end Cameron Brate (84), right, after arriving at Port Tampa Bay following the team's celebratory boat parade three days after Super Bowl 55. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

As for remaining alongside Brady on Sundays, well, that scenario became far sketchier when the Bucs drafted Kyle Trask in the second round a month ago. Griffin re-signed with the team less than two weeks before the draft, but said he was informed by team officials they likely would bring in another quarterback.

“So I knew what I was getting myself into,” Griffin said.

He also knows the importance of of every practice opportunity, hence his continued presence — unlike many other veterans — at organized team activities prior to next week’s mandatory minicamp. Griffin and Trask remain the only quarterbacks attending the voluntary workouts.

“There’s so many things that could happen between now and Sept. 9,” coach Bruce Arians said. “Nobody’s out (of the depth-chart competition), that’s for sure. Ryan, he comes out and he’s as efficient as anybody we have.”

Still, any chance at cracking what appears to be an impenetrable depth chart — Brady, veteran Blaine Gabbert and Trask — likely hinges on Griffin’s preseason performance. In eight preseason contests in 2018 and 2019, Griffin passed for 1,262 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions, with a 99.9 passer rating.

“I think (the voluntary workouts) are big with just the guys I get to work with, because those are the guys that I’ll be working with in the preseason,” said Griffin, who has attempted four passes in seven NFL seasons. “So obviously you want to put out the best film you can.”

For now, call him ‘Coach Brady?’

Though he has resumed summer workouts with veteran teammates, including one at AdventHealth Training Center last week, Brady still isn’t expected to participate extensively in next week’s minicamp.

“I don’t know how much I’ll let him do with guys chasing him around,” Arians said. “He might be doing a lot of coaching.”

Brady continues to rehab a left knee that underwent a surgical procedure shortly after Super Bowl 55, and released a short video clip Tuesday on Instagram showing him without a brace. As for first-round draft pick Joe Tryon, also coming off a knee procedure, Arians said he expects the Washington edge rusher to be a minicamp participant.

Tryon was an observer Tuesday. “He’s real close,” Arians said.

Trask ahead of the curve?

Trask continued building on his favorable first impression as a Buccaneer with what appeared to be a crisp late-morning workout Tuesday.

“It’s not easy when you’re going against our defense,” Arians said. “He is seeing a multitude of blitzes and coverages, so I’m really impressed. Having worked with guys for the first time in this offense, he’s at the top of the list as far as the learning curve, and he’s throwing the football really well.”

That list includes Andrew Luck, with whom Arians worked with in Indianapolis.

“Mentally-wise, he’s not far behind what Andrew did in the same offense, and what Andrew did that (rookie) year (2012) is unbelievable,” Arians said. “I’m not saying he’s Andrew Luck, but mentally he’s still really sharp.”

Odds and ends

Veteran free agent Giovani Bernard appeared to be the only running back at Tuesday’s workout, and Arians seemed mildly miffed that second-year Ke’Shawn Vaughn didn’t attend. “Ke’Shawn decided to work out with those (veteran) guys,” Arians said. “It’s their choice, but hopefully he’ll make a better decision (Wednesday).” ... Among the other veterans practicing Tuesday were third-year outside linebacker Anthony Nelson, who indicated he wasn’t put off when the Bucs drafted a player at his position (Tryon) in the first round. “It’s a business in the NFL,” Nelson said. “I mean, if you’re scared for competition, you’re in the wrong business.” ... Throughout Tuesday’s special teams work, veteran Jaydon Mickens could be seen mentoring rookie return specialist Jaelon Darden, who ultimately could take Mickens’ job. “That’s what vets do, they help young players because they’re going to help you along the line,” Arians said. “And maybe they do take your job, but that’s what veterans do, and Mick’s a hell of a veteran.”

Audible

“These guys out here are working their a-- off, but I’d like to see about 10 more of them out here fighting for jobs they don’t know they’re fighting for.” — Arians

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

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