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Kevin Zeitler excited to join Lions' offensive line

Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes said after the season he wouldn't overlook Detroit's offensive line in free agency.

He went to work, quickly re-signing versatile interior offensive lineman Graham Glasgow. The Lions lost starting left guard Jonah Jackson in free agency to the Rams, but Pro Bowl guard Kevin Zeitler has been on Holmes' radar since the start of free agency.

Zeitler told reporters Tuesday Detroit reached out to his agent right away at the start of free agency and while a deal took a little longer to finalize, he's happy to finally sign.

"Took a little longer than we thought it would but glad to be here," Zeitler said Tuesday in a Zoom call with Detroit reporters. "It all worked out. Really excited to meet everyone today and definitely made the right decision."

A first-round draft pick out of Wisconsin in 2012, Zeitler, 34, has been extremely durable during his career, starting 15 or more games each of the past nine seasons, which includes over 1,000 snaps in eight of those seasons.

"It's everything," Zeitler said about being available and able to play week in and week out. "The biggest thing you can contribute to this league is availability. No one cares why you're not on the field. You need to be out on the field. Luckily, I've had a great body team and great trainers throughout all the way from the start of my career that taught me great habits. For the most part, I've been lucky enough to avoid anything major and stay healthy and keep moving and keep going."

In 2023, playing for the Baltimore Ravens, Zeitler earned his first Pro Bowl selection. He has played in 182 NFL games, making 181 starts – all at right guard – and that seems like a good spot to pencil him into Detroit's lineup with the versatile Glasgow able to shift over to left guard, where he's played over 1,000 snaps in his career, including 75 last season. Zeitler said Tuesday the plan is for him to play right guard in 2024.

Zeitler has allowed three or fewer sacks every season since his rookie year, according to Pro Football Focus. He was the No. 2 pass protecting guard as graded by PFF last season. During his last three years with Baltimore, he has allowed on average just 15 quarterback pressures per season.

Go behind the scenes with the Detroit Lions during 2024 free agency.

Zeitler said he's really looking forward to playing between two All-Pro caliber players in center Frank Ragnow and right tackle Penei Sewell on the right side of the Lions' offensive line.

"It's awesome. I always want to play with great players and obviously you can't get much better than those two," he said. "Going to insert myself and I'm going to do whatever I can to raise my level and make sure we get our job done on the right side."

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