Left Tackle Switch Became A Mental Health Issue For Tristan Wirfs

August 4th, 2023

Tristan Wirfs gets candid.

Joe has been scoffed at often for noting that Tristan Wirfs’ move from All-Pro right tackle to left tackle this season shouldn’t be brushed off as easy or insignificant.

Joe also has noted that the Bucs needlessly are messing with Wirfs’ head via the position change, though Joe certainly doesn’t feel sorry for Wirfs or doubt that he can handle what’s on his plate.

The only question is whether Wirfs can be elite at his new position — his status at the old one.

Today, Wirfs got candid with how he’s struggled with the mental side of the move.

“I think just that the negative thoughts have been outweighed by the positive thoughts now. I have been meeting with our team sports psychologist to try and help it a little bit, because I was in a really rough spot mentally,” Wirfs said after training camp practice. “I was really nervous. I was playing out the season in my head over and over again like, ‘Oh, what if it goes this way or what if it goes this way?’ So, I was like, ‘It is freaking May. You have to calm down.’

“It has been a lot better by just trusting myself and having confidence in my abilities. Knowing the work that I have put in will pay off. I have been coming out here every day with the best attitude that I can … … I was very reserved in talking about how I was feeling. I am still trying to get better at it. It seems so miniscule like, ‘Oh, you are just flipping side.’ But I was having breakdowns about it.

“I decided I cannot sit here with these thoughts anymore. I was setting myself up for failure. I would just think about, ‘I am going to suck.’ Or like, ‘I am not going to be able to do it.’ for all day long. So being able to talk to Dr. Joe [Carella] and just get those thoughts out of your head. Just being able to say them helps tremendously, just getting them out of your own head. I am still trying to get better at saying what I am thinking and feeling …”

Kudos to Wirfs for the candor.

Later in the morning on WDAE radio, Wirfs talked more about the football side of the move. He said his sets are great and his feet are on point. It’s his left hand that is the challenge.

Wirfs added that he didn’t use the left hand much at right tackle and he’s trying to wake it up from its three-year slumber, even using chopsticks with his left hand to stimulate more dexterity.

61 Responses to “Left Tackle Switch Became A Mental Health Issue For Tristan Wirfs”

  1. nick houllis Says:

    its a one year experiment. if it doesn’t work out, draft a LT Before or after you draft a QB if you need to. And back to right you go.

  2. Red86 Says:

    You’re going to do well Wirfs. Hang in there.

  3. Dew Says:

    And wiping his butt left handed. Dude is serious.

  4. Allen Lofton Says:

    Mental reps are important. Keep using your left hand as much as possible and it will come together. He’s extremely talented. Get Shag Barrett to push him and it will help both of them.

  5. KC Buc Says:

    Not easy to publicly speak about your own mental health, especially with much of the stigma in the sports world. Good for Tristan! I’m sure by the end of training camp he will be back to being confident in his talent

  6. Larrd Says:

    Wow. I never thought he was such an emotional poodle. Send him back and trade for Jonah Williams.

  7. Rod Munch Says:

    My nephew said something to me about how his school work was causing him ‘mental health’ issues and I literally punched him. Man up and stop with this woman talk you generation of mentally weak cupcakes.

  8. PSL Bob Says:

    The good thing is that rather than keeping his thoughts to himself, he’s working with a professional to get better. Wirfs is probably the most transparent pro NFL player out there. His physical skills far outweigh any negative thoughts he’s having. He’ll be fine!

  9. D-Rome Says:

    Bucs should keep him on the right side. Why mess with a good thing. This is like having a Cy Young winning pitcher start pitching with his opposite hand.

  10. Jason Says:

    Wirfs added that he didn’t use the left hand much at right tackle and he’s trying to wake it up from its three-year slumber, even using chopsticks with his left hand to stimulate more dexterity.

    And wiped his butt left-handed too. Lol.
    Joe didn’t mention this because he has more class than me. Lol.

  11. Tbbucs3 Says:

    I agree, if Whirfs is leaking confidence moving to left tackle then the Bucs shouldn’t have forced him to move….but too late for that so lets he how he does.

    That being said, the pressure on these pro athletes especially in the NFL is insane and has got to be incredibly stressful in front of millions on live TV because if you suck you get exposed….some guys can’t handle it.

  12. View from 132 Says:

    How do you wipe your butt left handed? Don’t you fall off the toilet?

  13. Jason Says:

    You turn around and face the tank. Lol.

  14. Dwayne Cone Says:

    Take a Breath Kid you replaced the second most penalized lineman last year.

    If that doesn’t do it the position you are at now pays a lot more down the line.

    If you perform that good as a Rookie you were too good at that position to begin with.

    If you go from an exceptional RT to a very good LT in one season that will be just fine with room for improvement.

    Wirfs an absolute Beast.

  15. Buc4evr Says:

    My concern is that he will overcompensate and have an injury that he would have never had playing on the right side of the line. Hope that doesn’t occur and the sports psychologist continues to work with him.

  16. Mort Says:

    Some of you need to go touch grass. Drop this stupid toxic masculinity that says you can’t need any help dealing with problems or you’re weak and soft. That’s wrong.

  17. Rod Munch Says:

    Mort – what size dress do you wear?

  18. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    For Wirfs to be able to talk about the mental issues is a huge step toward concurring them.
    I am quite certain he will do well

  19. Infomeplease Says:

    Rod, if my kid (or nephew ) was asking me for help I’d get it for him asap. If he had the guts to ask then I’m getting him the all the help possible! Way better than attending his funeral or being hounded by news media because my kid did something irreversible! Just sayin ‘

  20. Winny Testaverde Says:

    It’s Friday and Hairdresser Hot Rod Mulch is copping to fondling his nephew and accuses others of wearing dresses? Put down the White Claws already.

    Wirfs will figure this out. It’s not an easy transition going from right to left tackle. One of the Joes was adamantly against it…he could be right.

  21. ChiBuc Says:

    Tbbuc3: “the pressure on these pro athletes especially in the NFL is insane and has got to be incredibly stressful in front of millions on live TV because if you suck you get exposed”

    This is life. What about the pressure on an EMT responding to a call for multiple gun shot victims. If you suck… people DIE. And Tristan’s pressure comes with about $4 more per yr and a significant raise if he doesn’t wilt. Tristan is a good man and a good athlete. I wish him the best and admire his emotional intelligence to resolve his obstacles, but I’m just trying to have some Perspective

  22. K2 Says:

    That is what drives the man to be great!

  23. Tbbucs3 Says:


    Nice whataboutism. Doesn’t take away the fact that pro athletes still struggle with immense pressure to preform at a high level…not everyone is Mahomes who can easily handle the pressure and spotlight. ….not too mention in a vicious sport where at any moment your career at any moment can end due to injury.

  24. Beej Says:

    It gets very comfortable being a big fish and a small pond, the small pond being right tackle

  25. Pewter Power Says:

    Damn this joe is so dramatic. You don’t keep someone that good at right then pay him like one of the best in the nfl. Orlando brown jr he is a top 10-15 left tackle or he was as far as I know, he was a right tackle who converted to left tackle. He left the chiefs and signed with the bengals

    Jawaan Taylor The chiefs right tackle is also going from right tackle to left this year. I personally think wirfs is better than them both. No doubt it was always the plan to make that switch for wirfs. Donovan smith is nowhere near the player than wirfs is.

  26. Rod Munch Says:

    Winny Testaverde Says:
    August 4th, 2023 at 4:18 pm
    It’s Friday and Hairdresser Hot Rod Mulch is copping to fondling his nephew and accuses others of wearing dresses? Put down the White Claws already.


    First, White Claws are good – I have no idea why you need to drag them into this. Second, I didn’t accuse anyone of anything, I just asked what size dress he wears. Most people who are mentally weak like to talk about fashion, so I thought I’d give him a chance to really unleash himself on a topic he loves. Why you are hating on me for trying to help someone, well, I think we all know when someone is pointing a finger at you, they’re pointing for more fingers back at themselves.

  27. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    He’s going to dominate.

  28. gofortheface30 Says:

    Rod – agreed.

    Mort, you’re a grown throwing out the term “toxic Masculinity.” Embarrassing. Go lift some weights dude, get some callous on those dainty hands, maybe get your test levels checked while you’re at it.

  29. Jvato24 Says:

    For the people saying he’s being too emotional, when’s the last time you had 25 mill yearly riding on your performance??? Let me know

  30. B.D Says:

    Left tackle makes more $$$ I’m sure he’s gonna give it his best shot….

  31. Rod Munch Says:

    Infomeplease Says:
    August 4th, 2023 at 4:18 pm
    Rod, if my kid (or nephew ) was asking me for help I’d get it for him asap.


    Calm down dramaqueen. He was complaining about being stressed about having to do homework, and literally using ‘mental health’ as a word replacement since that’s how they’re taught to use that phrase. A good smack to the head straighten him out. Remarkable how that works.

    Speaking of which, did you see this week that ‘researchers’ have an amazing new ADHD cure. They literally hooked up probes to kids heads, and when they didn’t pay attention they’d shock them. Remarkably after doing this for two weeks, nearly 60% of kids ADHD were completely cured. Of course you can bypass the science and probes by just slapping the kid in the back of the head and get the same results, but then you wouldn’t get millions in funding.\

    Oh, and lighten up Francis.

  32. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Jvato24, good point, it’s always the internet “tough guys” who say suck it up while if they were in the same situation they would fold like lawn chairs.

    While the worrying by Whirfs is not ideal, I have 0 doubts that he’ll make a great left tackle. Muhammad Ali apparently used to get super nervous and scared before fights but as soon as the bell rang the nerves went and he was on auto pilot, imagine it’ll be the same for 78.

  33. Jeffrey Becker Says:

    is there anything he does left-handed that he could start doing right-handed too? hmmm i wonder if that could help

  34. Chris Says:

    Yikes…wonder what Belichick or Parcells would say to him?

  35. Fred McNeil Says:

    First I’ve got to say to Larrd: look, I’m not proctologist, but I know a but hole when I see one. Some of the game’s greatest of all time suffered from anxiety. Remember Fred Biletnikoff? He used to vomit before games out of anxiety. Well in his case pine tar poisoning might have played a part. Still, these guys are under a ton of pressure. I am honored to have him at left tackle. I have zero doubt he will shine. You will shine too. Polishing knobs.

  36. Fred McNeil Says:

    Tristan Wirfs will make the pro bowl, if not All Pro.

  37. Infomeplease Says:

    Rod, you can take the horse to water, but you can’t make him drink!! Just planting seeds.

  38. optimisticbucsfan Says:

    hope it all works out. takes a lot to admit it.

    embarrassing posts. it’s why florida is mocked everywhere outside of here

  39. BringBucsBack Says:

    I’m offering drum lessons to the big fella to further improve or help attain ambidexterity.

    In describing his vision he also said that being on the left side, “is like having blinders on. But it’s getting better.”

    YICKS! This seems very important in performing well as the left tackle.

  40. Bucaneeric Says:

    All these jerks: “be a man and take responsibility if you suck. Don’t talk about feelings.”

    Tristan: I might suck in this new role. I’ve never faced this. I’ll talk to people and see if it helps me continue to be a beast without a hiccup. I want to continue to excel at my job.”

    Me: seems logical. Rock on, Tristan. Go bucs!

  41. Dewey Selmon Says:

    If it doesn’t work does he get his money back?

  42. Frank Pillow Says:

    Leave it to this organization to mess with the well being of the most gifted and important player on the team.

  43. firethecannons Says:

    so it is just going to take training camp and some preseason games and then it will be instinctive

  44. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Come clean Wirfs. You cant wipe your butt. You are too big for the reach around. You got one of those hi falutin bidets. Don’t ya?

  45. Joe Says:

    Yikes…wonder what Belichick or Parcells would say to him?

    Don’t think they would have been crazy enough to move him in the first place.

  46. Miller5252 Says:

    This is what I don’t understand about the new younger generation. I’m glad he found something that is working for him. I got kids a little older and a little younger than Wirfs and I’ve never heard “mental issues” more than from this age group. What did us older generation get so wrong to cause all these kids to feel “mental issues.” The kid is playing a game for millions of dollars…. A game. Like I said, I’m glad he’s found something that works, but just go enjoy life young man! I hope one day we can really pin point what happened to these younger kids to cause all this stress and mental strain so young.

  47. Capt.Tim Says:

    If he cant play left tackle, then all the accolades about him have been wrong. Hes not a great tackle.
    Defenses put their best pass rusher on the QBs blind side. Teams put their best tackle on him to stop him.
    If you cant stop the best- then you arent a great tackle.
    RTs play against big run stoppers. Those guys arent paid to go forward; they are paid to not get pushed backwards.

    If Wirfs cant block elite pass rusher- then we cut the wrong tackle.
    And the chiefs got a bargan!

    The fact that Wirfs is having a Breakdown over it, makes me worry that he may not be up to the job.
    Means he needs a pay cut- and the Team needs a left Tackle

  48. Just Saying Says:

    He read too much JBF about how he was going to fail and it messed with his head so he had to go talk to Dr Joe for a positive talk track. TW you will be a huge success at LT.

  49. HomerSimpsonRocks Says:

    Rod, you’re a tool. And you should be arrested for punching a kid.

  50. ModHairKen Says:

    “My nephew said something to me about how his school work was causing him ‘mental health’ issues and I literally punched him. Man up and stop with this woman talk you generation of mentally weak cupcakes.”

    Spot on. Rod Munch, you are the Joe Clark of this site.

  51. Arians4President Says:

    For the good-hearted men of Bucs Nation who feel the mental health issue is totally overblown, you have likely witnessed people take advantage of others or even cheat themselves in the name of mental health. It makes sense that your direct observations are guiding your thoughts on the topic.

    If the fuss over “mental health” just seems absurd to you, consider this…
    Kurt Cobain and Chester Bennington were both admired by millions upon millions of fellow men and were financially set for life. Regarding their anxiety and depression, if they had just “sucked it up” could we have had another Nirvana or Linkin Park album? Were Kurt and Chester raised “too soft”?

    Take Vincent Jackson…This was one of the most caring and beloved men in Tampa. His post NFL career life appeared to be a big success. Because he did not have any reported concussions during his NFL career, we assumed he had the ideal life. (We now know his brain had significant CTE due to cumulative, less obviously damaging hits)

    Us fans and most close to him had no idea what he was going through and rather than ignoring the misplaced stigmas which prevent men from getting help, Mrs. Jackson said he resorted to increased drinking just to “feel normal”.

    We didn’t know that the anxiety within them had intensified to a level that ultimately would surpass overwhelming and truly became all-consuming, blinding them of any reasonable perspective.

    Before one of the games at Ray Jay last year, Vincent Jackson’s young children (most fans didn’t realize who they were watching) ran the Bucs flag onto the field before kickoff. Talk about heavy… Maybe they would have a dad if VJax hadn’t been “soft” and just “sucked it up”?

    Just something to think about.

  52. garro Says:

    I always thought of Wirfs as a very intelligent dude. I do not think announcing to the world that negative thoughts put you in a bad place is very smart. Seeking help is the right thing to do if you are having serious problems though.

    Go Bucs!

  53. Defense Rules Says:

    Miller5252 … ‘What did us older generation get so wrong to cause all these kids to feel “mental issues.”

    Today’s youngsters live in a whole different world from the one that I grew up in, and quite possibly you too. If you work with kids in capacities like tutoring in elementary school or leading church youth group trips or just have several grandkids, you realize pretty quickly what these kids have to contend with. And the influences & ‘pressures’ are dramatically different in today’s society. And oh ya, much more complex & difficult to deal with.

    Confidence, in yourself, is learned over time and it takes positive influences to help it develop. The last thing youngsters need is some supposed ‘adult’ telling them to stop whining & man up. What they do need is positive influences to emulate & to help them mature into productive adults. Sadly those seem to be getting harder & harder to find in today’s society.

  54. Arians4President Says:

    @Defense Rules, I didn’t even consider that angle

  55. Voice of Truth Says:

    Not sure I am putting that out there if it’s me, but I will commend the kid for his brutal honesty

    He is so gifted athletically I think he is gonna be fine eventually but probably will have a few early season miscues

    I am way more concerned about the right side of the line – I can’t believe Mauch is ready to be a consistent starter inside at a maxed out and barely 300lbs plus the T is already a coin flip – we have no clue how this is gonna go

    Fingers and toes crossed 🤞

    Let’s run left, a lot

  56. Mika_Sati Says:

    @Defense Rules You have very quickly become my favorite commenter here. Defense wins championships, Rod munch should probably go to jail for beating children, and the people who DON’T put a gun in their mouths are usually the ones who talk about their issues. Shame on all you boomers who got beaten by a parent who didn’t know how to deal with their emotions in a healthy way, lost relatives to suicide and brushed off the why, or watched relationship after relationship burn blaming your partner the whole time. None of us understand the pressure someone in the constant spotlight goes through. Millions of dollars just makes the need to perform even more personal. Remember that the next time you pop a cialis Rod. You’re weak and you can’t even perform.

  57. ChiBuc Says:

    @Tbbucs3, you speak the truth. I always admire ppl, such as you, who have unlimited capacity for compassion. I tend to turn off the tap for those who appear to have a wellness network and unlimited resources at their disposal (e.g. Tristan) who are suffering 1st world problems (eg. Switching from rt to left, ac not blowing cold enough, the bar doesn’t have your preferred brand of bourbon on hand). I don’t mean to diminish their suffering; I simply lack the capacity to tote those rocks, feeling my energy is better served by a more needy recipient.

  58. Ken stud Says:

    Hey Larrd and rod munch. You two fake name switches would never run those slick mouths to Tristans face. I’m guessing he’d split your shisnitt quick you keyboard trash talking neverbee pro athletes

  59. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    Arians4President Says:
    “Kurt Cobain and Chester Bennington were both admired by millions upon millions of fellow men and were financially set for life.”

    Chester Bennington had been going public about pedophilia in the entertainment industry. His “‘suicide” put an end to his foundation intended to shine a light on it. Like the way Vince Foster committed suicide.

    That said, all Wirfs is feeling is the same thing that Trask is feeling to be with the ones for the first time. Young people are taught that they will be praised if they dramatize their emotions, so they create fancy ways to express their nervousness. No biggie.

  60. Rod Munch Says:

    Here’s some fun facts for you…

    The suicide rate in the US, in 2000, was 10.4 per 100k.
    The suicide rate in the US, in 2022, was 14.3 per 100k.

    All your emo crap, telling people that every normal obstacle in life is some major event that needs counseling is literally getting people killed. But do any of you care? Nope. Why? Because you’re doing what Oprah told you to do, and now it’s not your problem. In any case don’t blow out your elbow patting yourself on the back.

  61. Larrd Says:

    Fred, I know a procto- hobbyist when I encounter one on the Internet. You should get back to your corncob and carrots therapy as you’ve gotten cranky again.

    I have never seen anyone claim they were cured by talking about their anxiety with a psychologist, let alone a sports journalist.