BOSTON (CBS) — Growing up in Marshfield, Zach Triner saw Tom Brady win a lot of games for the New England Patriots. He is hoping the quarterback continues to do the same for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If you’re wondering why someone who grew up a Patriots fan is hoping Tom Brady will now lead the Buccaneers to the NFL’s promised land, it’s pretty easy to understand why. After a long road to the NFL, Triner is Tampa Bay’s long snapper, and he’s extremely eager to meet his newest teammate.READ MORE: Kim Janey Endorses Michelle Wu In Boston Mayoral Race
“That’s what everyone wants to know — ‘dude, what are you going to say to him?'” Triner told WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche from his home in Marshfield. “I’m going to say I’m from Massachusetts, I’ve been watching you all my life, now that that’s over, let’s be teammates.”
Though he has never met Brady, he knows the kind of leader that will be walking into the Bucs locker room when next season gets underway.
“I just know that he is the type of guy when you’re around him, certain things rub off. That is a really hard thing to quantify,” he said. “It’s really hard to find that ‘it’ factor, and he certainly has that. I’m looking forward to that spreading throughout the locker room and seeing where it takes us.
“There is a lot of excitement and I think it’s on us to fulfill those expectations,” added Triner.
When he returns home for the offseason, Triner never hesitates to wear his Bucs gear when he goes out and about. Until last week, people would look at him quizzically but rarely comment on his attire. That has changed since Brady signed on in Tampa.
“Now, I go to the supermarket and I have my Bucs stuff on, there is a lot more emotion behind the comments,” he said. “It’s fun to watch how much more willingly they are to engage with someone in Bucs gear than a few weeks prior.”
While Tom Brady’s rise from a sixth-round pick to a six-time Super Bowl champ is part of NFL lore, Triner took a pretty interesting path to the pros as well. He started college at Sienna, where he played lacrosse instead of football. But even after a season of D1 competition, football was still calling.
“I still had that football itch,” he said. “I figured it would go away after high school but it never did.”READ MORE: Gov. Baker Calls For Action Towards Ending Nurses' Strike At St. Vincent Hospital
That itch led him to Assumption, where he was a defensive end and long snapper for the Division 2 school. After three years in the program, he realized that he was pretty good at chucking the football between his legs.
But the NFL did not come calling. He worked out with the Patriots after going undrafted in 2015, and somehow, his lacrosse background wasn’t enough for Bill Belichick to sign him. He then took a job with Fidelity Investments, but made it clear that he was still hoping to live out his dream of playing professional football.
“Between Fidelity I was getting my workouts, going here and there. In my original interview I told them I wanted to go to the NFL, so if they weren’t OK with that I would totally understand,” he explained. “I’m sure they were like, ‘OK, ambitious college kid.’ But as that comes to fruition and became more of a reality, they felt it was more of a real thing.”
Triner worked out with the New York Jets in December of 2016 and received a futures contract a month later, but was cut in May. He signed on to the Green Bay Packers practice squad late in the 2017 season and was given a futures contract in January 2018, but was cut at the end of training camp.
He signed a futures contract with the Buccaneers in January 2019, and beat out his competition to make the team out of training camp. On Sept. 8, at the age of 28, he finally made his long-awaited NFL debut with the Buccaneers.
“Going to my first game, there is a fine line between the 28-year-old still trying to get to the NFL and the guy who actually made it. I was aware of the delicacy of that image,” he said. “It was just really powerful for me to be able to complete that circle and that journey, and now I can focus on being the best at my position.”
Like just about everyone in the world of sports, Triner is wondering what is next at this moment. The NFL appears to be going about with business as usual, even as the rest of the world shuts down during the coronavirus outbreak, though there are strong indications that the 2020 season will be delayed.
That may delay Triner from sharing the field with Brady. But for now, he’s doing his job from the comfort of his home.
“Luckily, I only need 16-17 yards of turf to get my work done,” he joked.MORE NEWS: Lowell Family Closes On New Home Minutes Before Welcoming New Baby Girl
If only Brady still lived in the New England area, he could have spent some of his downtime working out with one of his new teammates,