Marshal Yanda is still helping the Ravens' offensive line. When newly-acquired guard Kevin Zeitler was considering his options as a free agent, he called the greatest guard in Ravens history to seek his opinion about Baltimore.
Yanda, who retired following the 2019 season, told Zeitler that he would be a great fit with the Ravens. Those words carried weight with Zeitler, who agreed to a three-year contract on Monday.
"I actually reached out to Marshal Yanda, asked him a bunch of questions about the O-line and whatnot," Zeitler said during an interview with Glenn Clark Radio. "He thought it'd be a great fit. It was great talking to him and getting his opinion on everything.
"It was actually a pretty tough call. A lot of teams came in. They were all duking it out last night. Me and my wife, after we sat down and really talked, we thought for this time in our life, Baltimore was the right fit. We're very excited to be a part of it."
An eight-time Pro Bowler, Yanda has a Hall of Fame resume that can be imposing for any player following in his footsteps. However, Zeitler said he looked at playing right guard in Baltimore as a great opportunity and won't be intimated by Yanda's legacy.
"No apprehension," Zeitler said. "That spot in Baltimore Ravens history is a very good spot. I'm ready to continue on the tradition."
It wasn't just Yanda's words that persuaded Zeitler, nor was it all about money. Entering his 10th NFL season, Zeitler has never won a Super Bowl and he doesn't want to wait any longer. He views the Ravens as a team that can play into February.
"Getting to Year 10 in the league, you start considering that," Zeitler said. "Winning's important. Where's the team at? Are they contenders? It all plays a factor in the decision. The teams I considered at the end, that really was a big factor in the decision process."
Zeitler is also looking forward to joining the Ravens' rushing attack that has been the best in the NFL for two straight seasons. Having spent seven seasons in the AFC North playing for the Cincinnati Bengals (five seasons) and Cleveland Browns (two seasons), Zeitler says the Ravens' run-heavy style suits him. He's also stoked to block for the league's most-electrifying running quarterback, Lamar Jackson.
"Absolutely dynamic, his ability to make something happen on the run," Zeitler said. "I've seen it, I've dealt with it playing against him a couple of times. It's an exciting factor. It just adds a whole new aspect to the offense.
"Being in the AFC North so much, I think that's more my style of ball. Seeing what the Ravens have done over the past couple of years, offensively as well as defensively, it just seems like a great fit. I've played in M&T Bank Stadium many times. It's been a real pain. It'll be nice to walk out the other tunnel."