The Arizona Cardinals’ first-round pick has officially touched down in the Valley.
Zaven Collins kicked off his NFL career in style on Friday, flying into Arizona with none other than owner Michael Bidwill, who picked up the linebacker up from Oklahoma.
Instead of a direct flight back to the desert, Bidwill tweaked the flight plan a bit.
“The flight in was awesome, Mr. Bidwill came in and he got me on his plane and we landed here,” Collins said. “He showed me all around. He kinda flew me over Tulsa. I was showing him some places. And we I showed him my home town. It was awesome, the atmosphere from the start was a 100. It was great.”
“Mr. Bidwill went out of his way,” Collins added. “He didn’t have to do that and he wanted to and wanted to do that for me so that was great. I really appreciate that, Mr. Bidwill. He showed me an aerial view that I’d never seen before of some places around Oklahoma.”
The day of sightseeing was far from over, as Collins got his first look of Arizona’s facility and a taste of the dry heat.
His new teammates were sure to roll out the welcome wagon virtually, too.
“All the guys that are texting me that are in the league right now, you’re chasing to try and achieve what they’ve done and just be great in the NFL like those guys,” Collins told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Friday. “J.J. Watt had text me and Kyler and some other guys. … I texted them back and thanked them for reaching out. It’s just something that — it’s so surreal because everything’s just different in the matter of 30 seconds now.”
But while he works to get fully engrained in the Cardinals and the community, Hominy, Okla., will always hold a special place in the linebacker’s heart.
“That small town feel is something I’ll never forget,” Collins said. “You gotta remember where you come from. Remember your roots, remember the people who brought you up to get you where you are. They’re a big part of it, there your guidance in your life and they’re great people.”