TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – “I want to be there for my team when I can be,” said Aaron Stinnie, a guard for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He will be making his first NFL start on Sunday when the Buccaneers face the Saints in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Stinnie is filling the void left by the injured right guard, Alex Cappa.
8 On Your Side’s Gabrielle Shirley has followed his journey since before the start of the season when Stinnie was training at The Trench Academy inside Powerhouse Gym in Tampa.
“We are getting after it right now, you know, just trying to grind and be ready,” said Stinnie.
He spoke those words in June after an intense morning workout with his teammates, William Gholston and Rakeem Nunez-Roches.
“We found a great place to work out and get after it,” said Stinnie. “Today was a hard one as you all saw.”
The next task, which will be fighting for a win in New Orleans, will be even more challenging.
“You got to be like game set, game mindset type ready, to get after it,” said Stinnie, “because, if you don’t, you are going to fade out.”
Luckily, the Buccaneers seem to be doing the opposite especially on offense.
“I do not think there is any more swag than our offense has,” said the Buccaneers head coach, Bruce Arians. “I can guarantee you that.”
Arians told us that that swagger applies to Stinnie too.
“Aaron Stinnie will start and he is doing a great job for us so he is more than ready to play,” said Arians.
“Being able to go out and help the team,” said Stinnie in a Zoom interview on Thursday, “it is an excellent opportunity to go out and show what I can do and help the team, put my hand in the pot. Playoffs is big time.”
Stinnie, who originally signed with the Titans as a rookie free agent in 2018, joined the Buccaneers in November of 2019. He has played in six games this season seeing the most action, 25 offensive snaps, in the game against the Lions.
He commented on the 2020 season, complete with the addition of Tom Brady, before it began and his words still stand true.
“I think it is going to be something special,” said Stinnie. “It is going to be an awesome year. He is a great quarterback. I mean, he is who he is so it is exciting to be able to get out there and be able to block for him and so we just got to do our job.”
What message did Brady share with Stinnie this week?
“Just go out and have fun,” recalled Stinnie. “It is football so go play ball.”