G Zak Zinter (4.26.24)

How are you doing health-wise? How does the leg feel, has that healed?

“Yeah, I’m great. I’m cleared for everything. So, you know, it’s just been building the strength back and, you know, getting moving again. But I’m cleared for everything. I’m feeling great. I’m ready to roll.”


We were looking at the video, was that Michael Hall that fell on the back of your leg?

“Yeah it was.”


Is it kind of strange now that you guys are together?

“Yeah, I mean, everything kind of comes full circle I guess.”


Do you feel almost fortunate that the injury was a broken tibia and fibula? It could have been your knee?

“Yeah, no, definitely. I mean, I’ve been saying all along that this is the best worst-case scenario. You know, I mean, it’s just bone, bone heals easily. Way better than ligaments or the knee or the ankle. So, I mean, it was a clean break and, you know, the bone’s healing great. So definitely the best case scenario.”


Did you talk to Michael after that at all? Did you ever hear from him? Have you guys had any connection since that moment and just how bizarre is it that after that sort of fateful play, that you guys are ending up here together and you’re going to be going against each other in practice?

“Yeah, I mean, I’ve talked to him once when we we’re on a visit together, you know, but he’s a great dude, and it’s football. You know, stuff happens when we’re playing in the trenches, but I’m fired up and I think everything happens for a reason. So, just kind of a full circle moment for that to happen and now we’re going to be teammates. I’m just, I’m fired up to get there and get to work with him in practice, for sure.”


It seemed like after your injury the team really rallied around you just about in every way possible. We’ve heard a lot about your leadership, how do you think that aspect of who you are as a person and a player can translate into the NFL now?

“​​Yeah, I mean, I’m a humble, hard working dude that built a lot of relationships and became a leader at Michigan and I’m excited to do the same thing. Come in and just keep my head down and work hard and prove myself to the guys that are already there and do whatever I can to help the team win on Sunday.”


Andrew Berry said that he was excited about the fact that he thinks you’re going to fit into what is a blue-collar offensive line. What about this unit, the guys that are on here, and maybe this city of Cleveland are you feeling like you’re going to fit into?

“Yeah, I mean, I love it. You know, I’m a blue-collar guy at heart. I love hunting and fishing and I think Michigan’s a blue-collar team too. So, I’ve been around it for four years, especially in the O-line room. Just a bunch of dudes that work hard and love to play ball. So I think the city of Cleveland and the whole group that’s there, the team, the O-line, I’m excited and pumped to get in there and start getting to know the guys and just get to work.”


How much have you watched Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller over the course of their career and how much do you know about them and how excited are you to be able to have two guys of that caliber to learn from?

“Yeah, no, I’m pumped. Obviously I’ve seen them and watched them over the years and just to have guys like that where I can come in and try to follow in their footsteps and try to learn how they do it. Just to get in there and learn from them and try to do whatever I can to help the team win. So I’m excited to be able to learn from them along the way.”


How hard was it after the broken leg and then watching what Michigan was able to do? I know the teammates celebrated you and you were there for all of it, but just how difficult was that experience for you?

“Yeah it’s definitely bittersweet. I decided to come back for my senior year last year to come back with the guys and compete and win a National Championship. To go down on my senior night, last game in the big house against Ohio State, all that kind of stuff is definitely bittersweet. The boys rallied around me and we came out on top.”


What was that first phone call like with Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski just welcoming you to the team?

“Yeah I was fired up. We’re down in the basement, all my family around me, and it was just a great call. They’re excited to have me. I’m fired up to get there and I don’t think I could have gone to a better team. I’m just excited to get there tomorrow.”


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