EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – One day after Dave Gettleman discussed the youth on the Giants’ offensive line, the team parted ways with the oldest member of that position group in 2020.
Kevin Zeitler, who turned 31 on Monday, was released one week before the start of the new NFL business year and free agency.
In his two Giants seasons, Zeitler started all 31 games in which he played at right guard, including all 16 last year. He missed only the victory against Miami on Dec. 15, 2019 because of an ankle injury. That ended his streak of 85 consecutive starts
In 2020, Zeitler joined center Nick Gates and right tackle Cam Fleming among the five Giants who started all 16 games. Zeitler's 18 consecutive starts gives him the Giants' second-longest active streak, behind Dalvin Tomlinson's 64.
Zeitler joined the Giants in a trade with the Cleveland Browns, along with a fifth-round draft choice, for linebacker Olivier Vernon and a fourth-round draft selection on March 13, 2019. He previously played five seasons for the Cincinnati Bengals and two for the Browns.
Zeitler was the Giants' oldest fulltime starter last season, a designation that might have belonged to tackle Nate Solder had he not opted out of the season due to COVID-19 concerns. Solder turns 33 next month.
The Giants were the only NFL team to start the same offensive line combination in each of their last nine games of the 2020 season. In addition to Zeitler and the 28-year-old Fleming, the group included two rookies, left tackle Andrew Thomas and left guard Shane Lemieux (the team's first and fifth-round draft choices last year) and center Nick Gates, who played every offensive snap after starting three games in 2019, his first season of action (he spent 2018 on injured reserve). Thomas, Lemieux and Gates are 21, 23 and 25 respectively.
View NFL.com's updated rankings of the top 101 free agents of 2021 ahead of the new league year, which begins March 17.