New Ravens G Kevin Zeitler ‘very excited’ to play with QB Lamar Jackson

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Robert Sobus
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The Baltimore Ravens found themselves a key player in protecting quarterback Lamar Jackson. Former New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, and Cincinnati Bengals guard Kevin Zeitler signed a three-year deal worth $22.5 million on Wednesday. After spending seven of his nine seasons in the AFC North, Zeitler is ready to play for his third AFC North team, this time with Jackson instead of against him.

“I’m pretty excited,” Zeitler said at his introductory press conference on Friday. “After going against him many times and losing against him many times, I’m very excited for him to be on my side this time.”

Baltimore really needed to focus on the offensive line this offseason. Though the Ravens acknowledged the difficulty of replacing right guard Marshal Yanda after his retirement last offseason, the task would prove to be even tougher than originally thought. Baltimore shuffled three different players into the starting role, failing to find any consistency. When combined with the wild snaps coming from center last season, it was clear the offensive line had to be one of the Ravens’ top priorities this spring.

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While Zeitler has never been named to a Pro Bowl, he’s been widely considered one of the league’s better guards over his nine years in the NFL. More importantly for an offensive line that has dealt with plenty of injuries, Zeitler has been consistently available, missing just one game over the last six seasons.

After playing against the Ravens for many seasons, Zeitler is prepared to be a part of the winning culture in Baltimore.

“When it came down to it, the teams I was choosing from, winning and being on a great established team was definitely, no matter where I went, that was going to be part of it,” Zeitler said. “After talking to coach [John Harbaugh] and everything, I thought it fit what I do well with my run blocking and everything. I just thought for me and my family right now, Baltimore was the place to be.”

Given the open hole at center, the need for more tackle depth, and the commitment to bolstering the offensive line this offseason, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Ravens find more veterans like Zeitler through the rest of free agency.