We’ve all heard stories about first round draft picks that sign a lucrative contract and immediately go out and spend a huge sum on a flashy car.
Kevin Zeitler isn’t one of them.
It’s been nearly three weeks since the rookie from Wisconsin signed a 4-year deal with the Bengals – reportedly worth $7.5 million dollars – and Kevin still doesn’t have a vehicle.
“I’ve never owned a car,” Zeitler said. “I do have my license, but I haven’t had time to go look. It’s going to be weird buying something like that. It’s not that urgent yet. I’ll get one eventually, but I’m in no rush really.”
The 22-year-old offensive lineman has been staying at a hotel close to Paul Brown Stadium and says he’s had no problems getting where he needs to go.
“Taxis and the public shuttle – that’s what I’ve been taking everywhere,” said Zeitler. “There’s no place to park (at Wisconsin) so you just take buses or walk. So I’m used to walking or taking public transportation.”
Are his teammates aware that Kevin doesn’t own a car?
“Yes, I am aware of that because I have to go pick him up every time that we do something,” said Andrew Whitworth. “Zeitler is just an old-school guy. He told me that he didn’t have air conditioning in college.”
Has the former Badger been subjected to some verbal abuse in the locker room for being car-free?
“Coach gives me crap…everyone else gives me crap,” Kevin said with a grin. “They all give me crap.”
“Once he gets to training camp, I’m sure that he’ll have one,” said Whitworth. “As long as he has one by then, he’ll be alright.”
While Zeitler lacks an automobile, nobody questions his drive to succeed.
“He’s a passionate guy and very intense about his job,” said Whitworth. “Getting him to just relax and enjoy himself is probably hard because he wants to do really well…but that’s a good thing.”
One of the reasons why the Bengals selected Zeitler with the 27th pick in the draft is his smarts – he reportedly scored a 33 on the Wonderlic test. Head Coach Marvin Lewis says Kevin’s intelligence has been obvious during the OTA practice sessions.
“It was evident right away,” said Lewis. “From the day that we brought him in right after the draft, he was going to be a quick study on what to do in NFL football. Now we have to teach him how to do it all the time. Obviously, when you get to training camp after the first couple of days, we have to make the transition of doing it in football pads because there are a lot of offensive lineman that look really good without shoulder pads on.”
“I’ve learned a lot,” said Zeitler. “It’s definitely a different type of defense that you’re going up against and a different style of athlete. I’m just getting the playbook and terminology down and doing the techniques to get those plays done.”
The Bengals mandatory minicamp ended on Thursday, but Zeitler plans to continue working out in Cincinnati before attending the NFL’s Rookie Symposium in Aurora, OH at the end of June. Then he’ll head back to Wisconsin where he’ll finally have time to go car-shopping.
“It will happen – it’s just a matter of finding some time to do it and trying to get a good deal,” said Zeitler.
“He can afford one, but he’s Zeitler man,” said Whitworth. “He’s pretty detailed so I’m sure he has a plan for exactly when and where he’s going to buy a car. I think he’s got it handled.”
“I just want a good car that will take care of business,” Kevin told me. “Maybe if my next contract is a nice one, I’ll go out and get a nice car. But I’m not going to blow my money right away.”
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