After a dozen years of being one of the best players at his position in the NFL including stints with four different teams, Baltimore Ravens veteran right guard Kevin Zeitler is finally heading to the first Pro Bowl of his career.
The 12-year veteran was snubbed from the initial all-star roster despite coming off arguably his best season having led his position in fan voting. However, he was announced as the first alternate to replace Joe Thuney of the Kansas City Chiefs who advanced to their second straight Super Bowl and fourth in the last five years this past Sunday when they defeated the Ravens 17-10 in the AFC championship game.
There’s no doubt that Zeitler, his teammates, the organization, and Ravens fans everywhere would rather have advanced to the Super Bowl and be preparing to compete for the Vince Lombardi trophy in two weeks instead but this well-deserved recognition was long overdue.
Let’s GOOOOOO! He’s been a pro bowler his whole career, and FINALLY gets his https://t.co/1X2GSKT0cK— Pat Ricard (@PRic508) January 30, 2024
Zeitler has been the Ravens’ most durable and dependable offensive lineman since signing with the team in the 2021 offseason after being released as a salary cap casualty of the New York Giants. On a day where the team’s offensive line as a whole struggled in pass protection, he went out with a banger of a performance in the AFC title game by not giving up a single sack or pressure on an absurd 46 pass-blocking snaps according to Pro Football Focus.
The 33-year-old finished the season with the second-lowest pressure percentage allowed of the Ravens’ starting five with just 3.5 percent and had the second-highest pass-blocking grade of all guards this season per PFF, only trailing Thuney. Of his 533 snaps in pass protection, Zeitler only allowed two sacks and just 19 pressures.
Zeitler will join a large contingent of Ravens players to be named to the 2023 Pro Bowl that includes quarterback Lamar Jackson, center Tyler Linderbaum, inside linebackers Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen, safety Kyle Hamilton, defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, and kicker Justin Tucker. It Appears Jackson will be replaced by Indianapolis Cots after understandably opting out of the glorified consolation prize.
Looks like he's taking the place of Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, who is not on the finalized Pro Bowl Games roster that the league just sent out.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) January 30, 2024
7 Ravens are: Hamilton, Zeitler, Tucker, Linderbaum, Queen, Roquan Smith, Madubuike. https://t.co/FHbAXxa7iC
Originally a former first-round pick by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2012 NFL Draft at No. 27 overall out of Wisconsin, has spent the majority of his career within the AFC North. He spent the first five years with the Bengals, and the next two with the Cleveland Browns before being traded to the Giants and spending two seasons there. During the clean-out day following this past Sunday’s defeat, he told reporters in the locker room that he has no intentions of retiring and would like to continue his career in Baltimore.
“I am ready to roll,” Zeitler said. “Obviously, I want to be back as a Baltimore Raven, there is no doubt about that. I’ve loved my time here, I love the people here, love my teammates here, and I want to keep playing with them. Hopefully, that business side of football can be figured out nice and quick, and we can get that taken care of.”