Kevin Zeitler made no bones about why he wanted to join the Browns--besides the obvious, that is--the bones.
Besides signing the biggest contract in NFL history for offensive guards--reportedly five years, $60 million, $31.5 million guaranteed, Zeitler said Jackson was the deciding factor. Zeitler mentioned Jackson's name multiple times during the course of a five-minute interview.
"I'm very excited to be reunited with Hue Jackson," Zeitler said on a conference call with Cleveland members of the media Friday. "I enjoyed playing for him in Cincinnati and I can't wait to see what we can all do here."
Zeitler said he didn't need to be convinced to come to the Browns, despite their 1-15 record last season.
"No convincing was needed," he said. "Hue is here. It might sound ridiculous, but because Hue was here, I believe. "
Zeitler said it wasn't that difficult to stay in the AFC North, just moving up I-71 from Cincinnati and he wants to be a part of the turn around in Cleveland.
"I don't think the move was that hard," Zeitler said. "Hue Jackson being here was a great thing, a big draw for me. I love the AFC North. It's my type of football. Hue definitely makes me believe (the Browns are turning it around) and Sashi (Brown) make me feel this organization is moving in the right direction and I'm very excited to be a part of it."
Zeitler said that the Browns, particularly Jackson, showed how badly they wanted him.
"During the process, it sounded like a bunch of teams jumped in early and the Browns separated themselves in the process," he said. "Hue definitely wanted me and it made sense. I know the offense and it was the best fit. It really was and I'm excited to get to work."
Zeitler said he was excited to see the Browns extend fellow offensive lineman Joel Bitonio's contract and sign center J. C. Tretter.
"It actually got me really excited seeing all of those building blocks to put together an O-line that hopefully, will be together for a few years," he said. "I know Hue loves to run the ball and it's exciting to see what we can do together."
Besides Jackson, Zeitler admitted that fellow Wisconsin Badger alum Joe Thomas helped in the recruiting process.
"When I found out the Browns were a definite contender, I reached out to Joe," he said. "He got me really, really excited about being a part of Cleveland. He tried to get me to move to the Westlake area as apparently, he's the unofficial mayor there. I'm excited to play with him."