Kitchen's next dish: FBI or Secret Service

Rutgers starting free safety Zaire Kitchen's body has taken a beating in his four years "On the Banks,'' and he isn't willing to punish his 6-foot-2, 215-pound frame beyond Saturday's St. Petersburg Bowl against Central Florida. But Kitchen already has his next career mapped out, and it is not fr the faint of heart. Kitchen plans on moving into to another field flled with adrenalin rushes.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Zaire Kitchen's body needs a break, and he isn't talking about a few weeks off before training for Rutgers' pro day, or working out for NFL teams.

His body has been beaten up, partly because of the wonderfully reckless style he employs as the Scarlet Knights' starting free safety, and partly because three reconstructive knee surgeries and an assortment of other injuries take a huge toll.

So, when Kitchen leaves the Tropicana Field following Saturday's St. Petersburg Bowl clash with Central Florida, there is no doubt in his mind it will be his last football game.

"I figure I've done enough right now to my body,'' Kitchen said. "My body definitely deserves a break.''

Kitchen will graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice (minor in sociology), then will pursue a career in federal law enforcement with either the FBI, United States Secret Service or U.S. Postal Service.

"That's what I really want to do,'' Kitchen said. "I understand local and state law enforcement. I have no problem getting into that, too. But federal is interesting to me because of some of the things you can cover with the border patrol, terrorism, maximum security. That stuff is interesting.''

Kitchen's intrigue doesn't come from vicarious experience through a family member or friend, but rather watching television.

A few of his favorite shows are CSI and Unsolved Mysteries, and his curiosity is raised from them. But the path to such a career isn't a simple hop from Rutgers.

"You have to build up your resume,'' Kitchen said. "I plan on getting an internship next semester with a New Jersey State Trooper. I'm on course and I'm going to try and stay on the road to pursue that one dream.''

This is not a willy-nilly career choice for Kitchen, either. He began charting this career path while starring at Hightstown (N.J.) High.

"When I was in high school I kind of figured what I wanted to major in, and how I wanted to go about reaching that career goal,'' Kitchen said. "I thought about (majoring in) criminal justice, and how the best way was to go about doing it.''

On the field, Kitchen's body has taken a beating, although it rarely kept him out of games.

Kitchen underwent two reconstructive surgeries to repair torn anterior cruciate ligaments in his right knee, and another one on his left knee. There have also been weeks where he was limited in practice because of after-game soreness, brought on mostly by his physical style of play.

Still, Kitchen's 61 tackles ranks fourth on the team.

"My body is feeling real good right now,'' Kitchen said. "I have little aches here and there, but my body is feeling 100 percent.''


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