Kevin Zeitler is the first to admit he never saw it coming.
One moment he’s lifting weights as an offensive guard for the Cleveland Browns. The next, he’s reacting to just having been traded to the New York Giants for defensive end Olivier Vernon.
‘It’s going to be a fun, new advantage and things are going great’
The deal, which happened on March 13, came only a year after the Browns signed Zeitler to a five-year, $60-million contract, so it was understandable that it caught him – along with many others – off-guard.
“Very surprised,” Zeitler told Lance Medow and David Diehl on The Red Zone. “I mean, I guess in the NFL, you never know what’s going to happen. But I was in the middle of a lift and for some reason I decided to check my phone and I saw on Instagram about a million people say, ‘Good luck in New York.’ So I ran out of the building, and we started calling people and it’s quite a shock for me and the family. But it’s all good. We’re excited. It’s going to be a fun, new adventure and things are going great.”
‘I know (Barkley’s) a heck of a player so that can only make life more fun for me’
A large part of that new adventure is being part of an offense that features one of the NFL’s most dynamic players, running back Saquon Barkley.
“Right after I got traded, Eli Manning reached out, so did Nate Solder. Both sound like great guys that are in it, ready to work and whatever I can do to help, it’ll be great.”
“I mean, obviously, the first thought that popped in my head is like, ‘All right, we got Saquon!’,” Zeitler said. “I know he’s a heck of a player so that can only make life more fun for me. Right after I got traded, Eli Manning reached out, so did Nate Solder. Both sound like great guys that are in it, ready to work and whatever I can do to help, it’ll be great.”
‘Luckily, we have offseason programs, OTAs, training camp, all to get everything settled’
Zeitler was part of plenty of line shuffling in Cleveland. In fact, with the Giants, he will begin a fifth consecutive season next to a different tackle. But that doesn’t bother Zeitler.
“I almost think it actually just benefits me all the more,” he said. “There’s so many different types of players out there, different skill sets, different things they see. So I’ve got a great ability to work with them all, so I know the things that I might have to do a little differently or things I might have to say more, so that’s all going to take care of itself. Luckily we have offseason programs, OTAs, training camp, all to get everything settled, sort of figured out, and I think we’ll have some pretty good continuity by the time season rolls around.”
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