TAMPA — Bucs rookie quarterback Kyle Trask, hardly a stranger to biding his time, completed the second redshirt season of his life Sunday afternoon.
For the 17th time in as many games, the former record-setting Gator was deemed inactive before kickoff. Though the team hoped to build a lead sizable enough lead Sunday to pull some marquee players (including Tom Brady), coach Bruce Arians indicated days ago such a scenario still wouldn’t prompt his staff to activate Trask.
“No, because you’re taking away special team players,” he said.
As a result, Trask, who redshirted at UF in 2016 and didn’t log any game action the following year, remained confined to the sideline for the third time in the last six seasons. All five of his fellow draft picks who made the final roster had appeared in at least eight games entering Sunday’s finale.
Trask, the No. 64 overall pick in the draft last April, hasn’t even suited up, much less mopped up. His lone game action in a Bucs uniform came in the team’s three preseason contests, where he completed 29 of 55 passes for 312 yards with a touchdown and two picks.
But that seems exactly how his bosses envisioned the inaugural autumn of his professional life. With Brady in tow and veteran Blaine Gabbert backing him up, Trask had the luxury of learning the pro game at his own pace, while observing how the NFL’s greatest quarterback goes about his daily business.
“This kid’s putting in a lot of work to not be playing a snap,” offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich said in late October. “And that’s how you get better in this league, and you just appreciate that as a coach.”
But as Leftwich or any coach worth his white board attests, no substitute exists for game reps, and Trask has zero. He’ll remain at — or near — that number if Brady opts to play the final season of his contract in 2022.
So what does the future hold for Trask? Hard to say. While one can surmise he’s being groomed as Brady’s heir, the Bucs also could be inclined to sign another proven free agent once Brady retires, at which point Trask would be deemed a squandered second-round pick.
Like Trask, we’re simply left to wait.
• • •
Sign up for the Bucs RedZone newsletter to get updates and analysis on the latest team and NFL news from Bucs beat writer Joey Knight.